We are Doctors Karin Sorenmo and Mark Cofone, the founders of Lesley’s Place. We are both veterinarians with years of experience caring for animals. Karin is a board-certified oncologist and recently retired as emeritus professor of oncology from PennVet after 30 years of practicing medical oncology. Mark is a veterinary surgeon and also recently retired from private specialty practice after a long career as an owner and surgeon at Veterinary Specialty Center of Delaware (VSCD).
Since neither of us is ready to leave veterinary medicine, we love this program. Lesley’s Place allows us to focus on an area that is near to our hearts; providing care to homeless dogs with mammary tumors, and advancing mammary tumor research. Through this research, we can also help make advances in breast cancer research.
We chose the name "Lesley's Place" to honor our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Lesley King, veterinarian extraordinaire, lover of horses and dogs, and our chosen sister. Lesley was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in the prime of life, and she lost her battle after 8 years of fierce resistance.
Lesley loved the PennVet Shelter Canine mammary Tumor Program Karin started in 2009. This program provided care to homeless dogs with mammary tumors while also advancing knowledge to benefit breast cancer research. Lesley’s Place is a continuation and expansion of this program, and we think she would be pleased. As an oncologist and a surgeon, we have the combination of skills, the passion for the work, and are in a perfect position to take this on.
Lesley’s Place is an independent, non-profit program working from within and under the umbrella of the Veterinary Oncology Services and Research Center (VOSRC) in West Chester. We provide all the clinical care for the dogs enrolled in this program here. Dr. Ann Jeglum, another veterinary oncologist, owns and operates this specialty oncology hospital. Dr. Jeglum was on faculty at PennVet when we (and Lesley) did our residencies. In fact, Ann was Karin’s residency mentor during this time.
Now we are back together again—we are grateful that Ann has welcomed us into her practice, and allowed us to build this program using her facilities and staff.
Our Collaborative Team
We have established a diverse and comprehensive team of clinicians and basic researchers with expertise spanning from clinicopathological aspects of mammary tumors to molecular biology focusing on both molecular changes within the tumors as well as the tumor microenvironment. The value for translational research is clear, and through our collaborations, we have already shown that the dog is indeed a realistic and genuine model for breast cancer research. This model benefits both women and dogs with this disease.