AU Researcher Develops Bone Cancer Therapy for Dogs - WLTZ 38 | Columbus Georgia Regional News & Community

AU Researcher Develops Bone Cancer Therapy for Dogs

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By: Dorothy Sherman

AUBURN, AL - a better therapy for dogs with bone cancer, that's what could stem from research underway at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

"The idea is that what kills a dog with bone cancer is isn't the tumor on his leg, which is where they get them normally, but it's the matastasis to the lungs. the tumor that spreads to the lungs, and we're using a virus to go after that tumor" Director of the Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer, Dr. Bruce Smith said.

Dr. Smith is experimenting the therapy in a clinical trial on dogs with bone cancer. In the trial he's amputating the dog's tumor, and injecting a virus, normally known as hepatitis vaccine for dogs. The virus circulates through the body to the lungs, killing the cancer cells.  Dr. Smith said for the past five years he's been developing this treatment, testing it in the lab, making significant progress.

"We did a very some group of dogs with tumors that belonged to clients, a small clinical trial, and we were able to show that the virus was able to infect the tumor replicate and kill tumor cells," Dr. Smith said.

This bone cancer research has the possibility of not just helping dogs, but humans too.

"With many of the things we do with animals we like to think about a one medicine approach, which means that what we learn in one species can be applied to any other species.  And, that's absolutely true with this study," Dr. Smith said.

Dr. Smith said the virus has to infect the species that's targeted. So, humans would be infected by a different virus than dogs.

"What we learn in the dog, that is how the virus behaves, how the dog's immune system responds to that, how the tumor responds are all things that will then allow us to do the same experiments with people, and ask the same questions,"  Dr. Smith said.

Dr. Smith said short term they hope to answer questions about how dog's immune system recognizes tumors and how the virus works. And, long term he hopes the therapy will allow dogs to live longer than the typical nine months from normal treatment.

If you have a dog with bone cancer and are interested in participating in the trial, have your veterinarian call Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine to make an appointment with the oncology service.

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