A small study surrounding cancer treatments has veterinarians in Massachusetts excited. The clinical trial, conducted at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, has also given some pet owners hope for saving their beloved dogs, even if it just provides them with more quality time.
Cancer studies involving canines is nothing new. Golden retrievers, known for a higher incidence of the disease, have been studied for several years now in an ongoing research effort involving the breed across the United States. This latest study conducted through Cummings centers on an experimental drug used in combination with a single round of chemotherapy for treating lymphoma.
Canines in Medical Research
Veterinarians Abbey Sadowski and Cheryl London are excited about the prospects for the treatment plan. One particular case involving a bull mastiff named Dozer, diagnosed with cancer last year, has seen remarkable results. “He had lost a lot of weight. He had several weeks of history before he even saw us,” stated Dr. Sadowski. Normally, the prognosis would not be good in a situation like this.
Hope Springs Eternal
But, according to Dr. London, “We had this remarkable response… when you combine these two things together you can get a dramatic reduction in disease.” She’s referring to the drug in use with the round of chemo. Dozer, who had gone blind overnight as a result of his illness, did, in fact, see dramatic results.
Edward Sloan, Dozer’s dad, stated, “A single heroic dose… the next day he was able to see. They gave my best friend back and they gave him more time, quality time.” That was last fall, and Dozer is now three months into remission. For his part, Sloan couldn’t be more grateful. As any pet owner knows, it’s hard losing a family member like this — and for most pet owners their pets are their family.
The hope is that this new research involving the drug KPT-9274 (it’s so new it doesn’t have a name yet) will eventually lead to a breakthrough for treatments in people. There have been a number of studies involving canines for illnesses that affect humans as well. The results of research like this often supply the missing puzzle pieces needed to find cures for animals and people.
“The benefits to the human side are that you get a drug into humans that’s actually much more likely to work. The benefit to the veterinary side is that we get to enroll our patients in clinical trials of novel drugs at little to no cost for them,” London said.
“The fact that he’s alive, the fact he’s bristling with energy and personality, I would consider that miraculous,” Sloan admitted. While it’s obviously unclear how long his improved health will last, as cancer has a sneaky way of recurring down the road, this gives us all hope.
Apparently, researchers are still accepting canine candidates into the trial. If you've got questions regarding the project, you can direct them to the program's trials technician, Diane Welsh, at firstname.lastname@example.org.