Tri­als help dogs, hu­mans

Tufts vet cen­ter runs two cancer stud­ies

Boston Herald - - NEWS - By ALEXI COHAN — alexi.cohan@boston­her­ald.com

Thanks to two new clin­i­cal tri­als at Cum­mings Vet­eri­nary Med­i­cal Cen­ter at Tufts Uni­ver­sity, dogs with cancer — like 12-year-old Labrador mix Hazel — have a new lease on life.

Kayla Lane of New Lon­don, Conn., was dev­as­tated when she found out Hazel had bone cancer.

“She had a bump on her an­kle near her paw and we thought she sprained it ... she started to limp re­ally bad so we took her to the vet to get an X-ray ... the vet said it was cancer,” Lane told the Her­ald. “It was hard to believe she had bone cancer out of nowhere.”

Lane be­gan tak­ing Hazel to ap­point­ments to seek out the best pos­si­ble treat­ment when her vet­eri­nar­ian told her about the tri­als at Cum­mings, based in North Grafton, that worked to treat dogs with bone cancer, as well as dogs with mast cell tu­mors and solid tu­mors. Hazel par­tic­i­pated in both tri­als.

The stud­ies, which are funded by a grant from Na­tional Cancer In­sti­tute, look at the im­mune sys­tem and its role in help­ing to pre­vent tu­mor spread.

Hazel had to have her leg am­pu­tated prior to treat­ment, en­dure chemo­ther­apy and take a se­ries of pills that Lane said were dif­fi­cult to ad­min­is­ter.

Dr. Ch­eryl Lon­don, di­rec­tor of the clin­i­cal tri­als of­fice at Cum­mings, said that while the tri­als aim to help dogs, they can help hu­mans too.

“Dogs share many phys­i­o­log­i­cal sim­i­lar­i­ties to hu­mans, are ex­posed to the same en­vi­ron­ment and get many of the same dis­eases.” Lon­don said.

Ac­cord­ing to Lon­don, there are only about 1,000 new cases of bone cancer di­ag­nosed in chil­dren and ado­les­cents each year, while 25,000 new cases are found in dogs each year.

Lon­don said treat­ment op­tions for tu­mor spread are scarce and the tri­als will serve to “find the best ap­proach that works in dogs with spread and then trans­late that back to kids with spread.”

Lane said that was one of the main rea­sons she wanted Hazel to par­tic­i­pate in the trial.

“It will help more than just Hazel, it will help re­search and it will help hu­mans,” Lane said.

Par­tic­i­pa­tion in the trial is free to pet own­ers, some­thing Lane said was a re­lief.

Lane made the drive from New Lon­don to Bos­ton sev­eral times to get treat­ment for Hazel, some­thing she said made a huge im­pact in the dog’s life.

“We don’t re­gret do­ing it and it ex­tended her life with us,” said Lane, “she’s still here and happy.”

COUR­TESY OF KAYLA LANE

HAPPY HOP: Hazel, a 12-year-old Labrador mix, had a leg am­pu­tated be­fore par­tic­i­pa­tion in a clin­i­cal trial at Cum­mings Vet­eri­nary Med­i­cal Cen­ter at Tufts Uni­ver­sity.

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