CHF Grant #02472-A

Frane Banovic, DVM, PhD
University of Georgia
February 2018 - $3,000

Project Abstract: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common, chronic, inflammatory and pruritic allergic skin disease that affects dogs worldwide. Treatment of canine AD has a high unmet need for effective and safe therapeutics. The transcriptome investigation of human AD tissues before and after treatment modalities has revolutionized the understanding of the molecular fingerprint of AD, further defining pathogenic immune pathways and identifying disease-specific biomarkers. In the early-phase trial, lokivetmab, a caninized monoclonal antibody targeting interleukin-31 (IL-31) cytokine, markedly improved disease activity, but the effect of IL-31 blockade on AD at the genomic level has not been characterized. The investigators will evaluate lokivetmab modulation of the canine AD transcriptome (defined as differentially expressed genes between lesional and non-lesional skin) using next-generation RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). Findings may suggest that inhibition of a single target has the potential to reverse AD pathomechanisms, opening the door for new targeted treatment for this common and debilitating inflammatory skin disease. Furthermore, transcriptome analysis using RNA-seq may identify novel pathogenic pathways of inflammatory biomarkers as canine AD disease drivers, with potential for development of novel targeted therapeutics.