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What do you know about cancer? Did you know that in their long-ago day, dinosaurs got cancer? And that dogs, sharks, cows, and parakeets get cancer? 

For most people, cancer is a mysterious and fearsome condition. This emotionally based response means that social stigmas are often tied to a cancer diagnosis. However, at its core, cancer is a disease caused by mutations in a cell’s DNA. In fact, the same mechanisms of DNA mutation that lead cells to become cancerous are the drivers of evolution. Therefore, cancer risk may be considered to be part of our evolutionary legacy. Moreover, few people realize that advances in cancer research and treatment are allowing millions of people and animals to lead healthy and fulfilling lives as cancer survivors.

According to Dr. Jaime Modiano of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and Masonic Cancer Center, the biological and evolutionary foundations for why and how cancer happens across the animal kingdom are key to this research.

Join us February 4 when Modiano explains how breaking through the evolutionary lifespan barrier affects cancer risk, allowing scientists to not only demystify the condition, but also develop effective approaches to prevent and cure cancer in humans and companion animals alike.

Jaime Modiano is the Alvin and June Perlman Endowed Chair of Animal Oncology and director of the Animal Cancer Care and Research Program of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. Through the Modiano Lab, he seeks to understand how and why cancer happens and to translate that research into clinical applications that improve the health and well-being of companion animals and humans. 

Modiano received his veterinary training and PhD in Immunology from the University of Pennsylvania, which was followed by a residency in Veterinary Clinical Pathology at Colorado State University and a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine in Denver. Prior to joining the University, he was on the faculty of Texas A&M University and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Outside academia, Modiano has served as director of Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy for the Donald Monk Cancer Research Foundation. He is currently a lead consultant for Veterinary Research Associates, and a founder of ApopLogic Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Half Moon Bay Biotechnology.

Modiano is married to University of Minnesota professor Dr. Michelle Ritt, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Fittingly, they share their home with Alsay and Dashiell, their “outstanding” German Shepherd and Gordon Setter.

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Headliners takes place monthly, October through May (no event in January), at the Continuing Education and Conference Center on the University's Saint Paul campus. Dates for the 2020−21 season are October 1, November 5, December 3, February 4, March 4, April 1, and May 6. Individual event tickets are $20. Subscribe to the series by October 1 and get tickets to all seven events for $90. (A savings of $50!)

Headliners tickets are nonrefundable. If you have questions, please call 612-625-2900.

See complete list of Headliners events.

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