Veterinary oncologists advance cancer drugs for humans and pets

April 15, 2009

As more pet owners are choosing to treat their pets' cancers through advanced medicine, veterinarians gain valuable knowledge about the progression and treatment of cancers in humans through pet trials of new drugs. To help organize nationwide trials in tumor-bearing dogs using cancer drugs, the National Cancer Institute has launched the Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium (COTC). Faculty members in the University of Missouri's Scott Endowed Program in Veterinary Oncology participated in COTC's first trial.

"Spontaneous cancers in companion dogs offer a unique, and largely unexplored translational research opportunity for cancer imaging, device and drug development," said Carolyn Henry, professor and director of the Scott Endowed Program in Veterinary Oncology in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. "Comparative oncology at MU has a long history of advancing cancer treatments in both humans and dogs. In the first COTC trial, we examined a novel drug-delivery method that disrupts blood flow to the tumors but not to the surrounding tissue. The results were effective, and we observed a dramatic decrease in the size of the tumor in one of our patients."

In the study, veterinary oncologists investigated the efficiency of a novel method to deliver the gene for TNF-α to tumor blood vessels. TNF-α is protein made by the body naturally that has anti-tumor effects. Because of the TNF-α protein's toxicity, it cannot be administrated through the bloodstream. The investigators found that the TNF-α gene could be targeted to the tumor using a bacteriophage-based delivery system. Bacteriophage is a virus that can be engineered to target and infect tumor blood vessel cells. This targeted delivery system mitigated the side effects that are seen when the protein is administered systemically. The observations provided insight about the proper dosage of TNF-α to treat both dog and human patients, Henry said.

"Rodent models do not always exhibit the complex relationships between drug exposure and necessary biological changes in tumor tissue that exist in humans," Henry said. "This study provided unique information about the safety of this targeted TNF-α therapy that could not have been demonstrated with rodent animal studies."

The MU Scott Endowed Program in Veterinary Oncology provides many opportunities for translational research. One current project includes collaborating with Valco Instruments, which manufactures various products for the analytical industry, and IsoTherapeutics Group LLC, a company that develops novel diagnostic and therapeutic agents for the treatment of severe diseases, to develop a new technique that improves the administration of radiopharmaceuticals to treat dogs with bone cancer. The new technique shows promise in reducing the negative side effects of the therapy. Canine osteosarcoma, or bone cancer in , is very similar to bone cancer in children.

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Gene circuit switches on inside cancer cells, triggers immune attack

October 19, 2017
Researchers at MIT have developed a synthetic gene circuit that triggers the body's immune system to attack cancers when it detects signs of the disease.

One to 10 mutations are needed to drive cancer, scientists find

October 19, 2017
For the first time, scientists have provided unbiased estimates of the number of mutations needed for cancers to develop, in a study of more than 7,500 tumours across 29 cancer types. Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger ...

Study shows how nerves drive prostate cancer

October 19, 2017
In a study in today's issue of Science, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, part of Montefiore Medicine, report that certain nerves sustain prostate cancer growth by triggering a switch that causes tumor vessels ...

Researchers target undruggable cancers

October 19, 2017
A new approach to targeting key cancer-linked proteins, thought to be 'undruggable," has been discovered through an alliance between industry and academia.

Suicide molecules kill any cancer cell

October 19, 2017
Small RNA molecules originally developed as a tool to study gene function trigger a mechanism hidden in every cell that forces the cell to commit suicide, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study, the first to identify molecules ...

Fundamental research enhances understanding of major cancer gene

October 19, 2017
New research represents a promising step towards better understanding of a key cancer gene. A long-running collaboration between researchers at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge and the AstraZeneca IMED Biotech Unit reveals ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.