Latest Updates from Humanimal Trust Supported Research

As the world continues to open up from lockdown, our supported research studies have been able to continue their vital work in areas of medical progress to help save time, save money and save the lives of both humans and animals. Please find the latest updates outlined below:

Infection prevention and its impact on antimicrobial resistance in critically ill children (with potential to benefit animals - supported in collaboration with Action Medical Research)

This study examines the issue of antimicrobial resistance. Infection is a common cause of serious illness in critically ill children which means they are frequently exposed to antimicrobials for large parts of their time in hospital. We will examine how the heavy use of antimicrobial impacts on the gut bacteria of children admitted to PICU and how much antibiotic resistance they carry (and potentially transmit to others) after they are discharged home. Our study will analyse samples taken from children during a trial of different types of infection control. We will examine faecal and mouth swab samples and analyse the molecular characteristics of the bacteria in these parts of the body. Our analysis will identify the different types and amounts of bacteria carrying antimicrobial resistance genes.

The study has already started enrolling children and following them up. We had to take a pause of 6 months during the COVID-19 pandemic but have started sending samples for analysis from the first batch of enrolled children. The study is unique because there are no data showing such a detailed impact of antimicrobials and critical illness on the paediatric gut microbiome in the acute and longer term. Our data should provide information not only on the effects of different infection control strategies but also identify whether some children might benefit from nutritional or pharmacological support to restore a healthy gut microbiome and reduce the carriage of antimicrobial resistance genes.


The Development and Application of Oncolytic Virus therapy for Treatment of Canine Malignant Tumours: Final Project Summary

The Challenge

  • Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in companion animals.
  • There is a lack of effective and safe therapies (it is difficult to kill cancer without killing healthy cells)
  • AND cancer is NOT a single disease-it is in fact multiple different diseases under one name
  • Designing drugs from scratch is time consuming and expensive

A Solution?

  • Some viruses target rapidly dividing cells, causing cell death 
  • Reovirus Type 3 Dearing strain (REOLYSIN® - now Pelareorep) has reached clinical trials in humans and has FDA approval for targeting specific cancers
  • There is already some evidence that it may work against canine solid tumours
  • Could reovirus be used to treat canine cancers?

The Approach

  • Canine oral melanoma was chosen as a common and visible canine tumour
  • Immortalised cell lines are available from samples removed at surgery- no requirement for live animals:
  • CMGD-2 (malignant melanoma removed from 13yo male cross breed)
  • TLM-1 (removed from 12 yo male Gordon Setter)
  • After characterisation, cells were infected with reovirus at varying concentrations for different time periods
  • Effect on cells was measured with a cell viability assay (MTT)


  • Reovirus had an effect on canine melanoma cells under laboratory conditions
  • BUT Large doses are required
  • Reovirus may be useful as an adjunct to other therapies


  • Future work: This study has initiated a strong collaboration between medical oncology and veterinary vaccinology at the University of Surrey 
  • Inspiring the next generation: Two postgraduate and four undergraduate students have benefited from training and been inspired
  • One Medicine in Action: closer links between medical and veterinary clinicians have led to new collaboration benefitting humans and animals.