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Health Beat: Killing canine brain tumors

Published On: Aug 02 2013 12:56:46 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 02 2013 05:48:44 PM EDT

Every year, more than 13,000 Americans are diagnosed with the most severe type of brain tumor.


Every year more than 13,000 Americans will be diagnosed with a glioblastoma, the worst kind of brain tumor. There’s no cure and few treatments. On average, people only have 15 months to live after diagnosis. Now, man’s best friend could hold the key to helping these patients.

Petey had a large brain tumor, called a glioma, almost cut his life short a couple of years ago.

“They said he’s basically got less than two months to live,” said Alexander Frame, Petey’s owner.


Petey’s owner enrolled him in a clinical trial testing a drug already used to treat colon cancer in people. Veterinarian Simon Platt pumped the drug directly over the area in the brain where Petey’s tumor was removed.

"It tries to block the tumor feeding on the rest of the body," said Platt, professor of neurology and neurosurgery service at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia

It stops the tumor's "fingers" growing all throughout the brain, from coming back.

Petey’s last MRI shows no tumor. Because canine tumors are very similar to those found in people, Platt hopes the same will happen to people suffering from the same types of tumors. 

"We thought that’s great, we can help dogs out. If that’s possible, then we could go to the next step and actually help people out," Platt said.

Although the drug needs more testing before it can be tried out in humans, it’s done wonders for Petey.

"At this point I’m hopeful that he’ll have a full life," Frame said.

Platt received a three year grant from the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. The next clinical trial will include around 15 dogs, and if the results are as promising as those from the first trial, human testing could be right around the corner.

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