Researchers at Auburn University's School of Veterinary Medicine are working to lengthen the lives of man's best friend.
The American Kennel Club Health Foundation awarded AU a grant to test a new therapy for treating bone cancer in dogs.
"What we are doing is standardized care plus a clinical trial," explains Dr. Bruce Smith, Director of the Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer. "That animal will typically have an amputation to remove the big tumor, the primary tumor, and then we will give it the virus and that will hopefully start treating all of those micro metastases and the dog will also get chemotherapy."
The single injection treatment consists of a virus normally used as a hepatitis vaccine in dogs that has been modified to only make copies of itself inside bone cancer cells.
"When it gets into the tumor cells it makes a lot of copies of itself and kills the tumor then it is released into the blood then goes on to infect other cancer cells and kill them," explains Smith.
This research could one day treat many other kinds of cancer, even cancer in humans.
"We like to call this one medicine, or the one health approach, and the idea is what we can learn in one species can be transferred to many other species, and this case we would love to take what we learn in the dog and apply it to people," says Smith.
If your dog has bone cancer and you would like to participate in the clinical trial, have your veterinarian call Auburn's College of Veterinary Medicine to make an appointment with the oncology services.