Colorado State University’s Animal Cancer Center is enrolling dogs for two clinical studies aimed at finding a new way to treat cancer.
The studies are investigating the impact of a drug on cells that suppress the immune system and allow cancer tumors to grow. Initial results in mice and dogs show that the drug can reverse suppression of the immune system and halt tumor growth in dogs and, in some cases, even shrink tumors, according to the center.
The researchers are evaluating the class of drugs called bisophosphonates, which has been used for years to diminish bone pain in bone cancer patients.
“To date, nearly a dozen dogs have been treated in the study,” said Steve Dow, DVM, Ph.D., a researcher and veterinarian at the center. “The tumor response rate — shrinkage of the tumor or suppression of growth — has been very encouraging.”
The results may even help humans with many different types of tumors, according to Dr. Dow.
The researchers are looking for dogs with soft tissue sarcomas and malignant histiocytosis, called MH, to enroll in the clinical trials. An enrollment end date has not yet been announced.
The soft tissue sarcoma study pays $500 toward the cost of treatment, such as surgery, at the end of the study. The study consists of six treatments over a time frame that ranges seven to 13 weeks, depending upon the treatment option that is selected.
Dogs enrolled in the MH study are eligible to receive the drug at no cost. Owners are responsible for any other charges.
Patients must meet certain eligibility requirements. For instance, patients with other serious underlying diseases are excluded from the studies. Tumor size and location may also be factors.
The studies are being supported by the Morris Animal Foundation, the Canine Health Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
For enrollment details, call Scott Hafeman, DVM, at 970-297-4092.
As of Aug. 24, the malignant histiocytosis clinical trial has been filled.