Treatment for canine brain tumors could someday help humans

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by KING 5 HealthLink

KING5.com

Posted on August 16, 2013 at 7:25 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 16 at 7:25 PM

Every year, more than 13,000 Americans will be diagnosed with malignant gliobastoma, the worst kind of brain tumor. On average, patients live just 15 months after diagnosis. How man's best friend is helping find a cure.

Looking at Petey now, it's hard to imagine that a couple of years ago, a large brain tumor called a glioma almost cut his life short.

“They said he’s basically got less than two months to live,” said Alexander Frame, Petey’s owner.

Frame enrolled Petey in a clinical trial testing a drug already used to treat colon cancer in people. Veterinarian Dr. Simon Platt pumped the drug directly over the area in the brain where Petey’s tumor was removed.

“It tries to block the tumor feeding on the rest of the body,” said Platt, Professor Neurology & Neurosurgery Service, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia.

It stops the tumor’s tentacles from growing back.

Petey’s last MRI shows no tumor. Because canine tumors are very similar to those found in people, Dr. Platt hopes the same will work for humans.

“We thought that’s great, we can help dogs out. If that’s possible, then we could go to the next step and actually help people out,” Platt said.

Although the drug needs more testing before it can be tried out in humans, it’s done wonders for Petey.

“At this point I’m hopeful that he’ll have a full life,” Frame said.

The next clinical trial will include around 15 dogs, and if the results are as promising as those from the first trial, human testing could begin soon.

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