Bone mar­row trans­plant

Los Angeles Times - - THE PETS ISSUE -

As far as cut­ting-edge treat­ments go, this is one of the most so­phis­ti­cated avail­able. Be­cause it’s so spe­cial­ized and ex­pen­sive (about $20,000), it’s not very ac­ces­si­ble to most pet own­ers. But it of­fers a po­ten­tial cure for lym­phoma, a can­cer of the white blood cells. Chretin is one of the few vet­eri­nar­i­ans in the coun­try who does bone mar­row trans­plants. The pro­ce­dure is ex­actly the same as that done in hu­mans, he says. First, a dog is treated with a high dose of chemo­ther­apy and a hor­mone that causes stem cells to re­lease from the bone mar­row into the blood­stream. A cou­ple of weeks later, the dog is hooked up to a blood-sep­a­rat­ing ma­chine that col­lects stem cells from the blood. The next day, the dog is treated with to­tal-body ra­di­a­tion to wipe out all the white blood cells and, af­ter­ward, the har­vested cells are in­fused back into the dog, where they will re­gen­er­ate white blood cells in a, hope­fully, can­cer-free en­vi­ron­ment. The cure rate is about 40%.

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