Auburn University Veterinary Researchers Lead Pet Cancer Trials

The Auburn University Veterinary College of Medicine is treating dogs and cats with cancer.

They’re hoping the research will help humans, too.

A one year study hopes to learn more about feline T-regulatory cells.

Critical to immune cells which help prevent autoimmune disease.

“Whether or not these T-regulatory cells are increased in the cat species who have cancer and the goal being that long-term that can be a target for us to treat our patients with cancer and hopefully decrease the spread of cancer throughout their body,” said Dr. Michelle LaRue, Auburn University 3rd year Oncology Resident.

Eight cats examined so far.

A $20,000 grant will allow her to work with at least 28.

Her colleague, studies osteosarcoma in dogs.

“It’s very valuable to us on a translational level because it’s the most common bone cancer in children. The frequency, though, is higher in dogs. So, it’s an excellent model to study the human diseases and in our clinic we can transplant it into human medicine as well,” said Dr. Ashley Smith, Auburn University 2nd year Oncology Resident.

Over time, osteosarcoma becomes resistant to therapies, especially in larger breeds, and the cancer spreads to the lungs.

“We’ve had a lot of patients that we’ve treated that’s been close to my heart and it can be very frustrating for the family and us as well once the cancer has spread. So, I’m interested in finding something that works for them,” said Dr. Smith.

Both Auburn researchers hoping they can figure out how to stop these diseases from spreading in dogs and cats.

Then, use that knowledge in human cancer trials.

The university researchers are asking pet owners with suffering cats and dogs to participate.

If you’re interested, call Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine at (334) 844-4690.

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