Oncology

Physicians, Veterinarians Team up to Fight Cancer

Photo: Physicians, Veterinarians Team up to Fight Cancer

Below, please find links to all of the clinical trials involving cancer (oncology). The studies include a multitude of information, including (but not limited to) the study’s purpose, benefits for participating, and financial incentive information. If you have any questions, please contact the individual outlined at the end of each trial summary.

Please visit the Oncology service webpage at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) or the Comparative Cancer Center (CCC) if you would like to learn more about the amazing things that our oncologists can do for you and your animal.  

If you have any questions that are specific to oncology for any species, please contact our Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators via email (oncologyclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu) or phone (530-752-0125 or 530-752-9759).

Exotic Animals

Mammary Tumor (Fibroadenoma): Assessing a Treatment in Pet Rats

Title: Evaluation of deslorelin implants on fibroadenoma recurrence in rats

Purpose: The objective of this clinical study is to determine whether the deslorelin implant (Suprelorin®) can prevent the recurrence of certain mammary tumors in rats, as these tumors frequently re-occur after surgical removal.

Contact: Email capeservice@ucdavis.edu 

Participation Requirements: Female rats that are not spayed and diagnosed with a subcutaneous mass that could be a mammary tumor

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Physical examination indicating no contraindication for anesthesia

Procedures:

  • While your rat is under anesthesia, the mass will be surgically removed. It will then be analyzed to confirm diagnosis of a fibroadenoma, a process that may take several days.
  • If the diagnosis is confirmed and you have elected for your rat to have the implant:
    • The implant will be placed while your rat is sedated, approximately one month of the mass being removed.
    • A recheck exam will be performed every 6 months or sooner if you detect a mass. During these examinations, your veterinarian will be performing a complete physical examination and palpate for masses in the mammary tissue as is standard for any consultation.
  • You may also receive phone calls or email every few months to monitor how your rat is doing.

Benefits: The study will cover the cost of the implant while your rat is enrolled in the trial.

Although there are potentially no benefits if your rat receives the placebo (inactive) implant, the active implant may help to prevent the recurrence of the mammary tumor.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your rat to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your rat to your veterinarian for a routine visit every 6 months (or more often if you notice any mass recurrence or any abnormal clinical signs) and covering costs of the anesthetic and surgical fees, post-operative treatments and hospitalization, as well as recheck examinations required for your rat. If the implant proves to prevent mammary tumor recurrence and you would like your rat to be implanted with another deslorelin implant in a year, the cost of this implant will be at your charge.

Horses

Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Understanding the Genetics in Haflinger Horses

Title: Genetic Investigation of Limbal Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Haflinger Horses

Purpose: Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the most common forms of cancer to affect the eye, specifically where the clear cornea meets the white of the eye, or the “limbus”. This type of eye cancer affects Haflingers more than other breeds, so the objective of this study is to determine the role genetics plays in limbal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) in Haflinger horses. This study is designed to determine the incidence of LSCC in the breed, to determine the mode of inheritance if a single gene is involved, and identify candidate genes for further investigation.

Contact: Dr. Rebecca Bellone at 530-752-9299 or rbellone@ucdavis.edu

Participation Requirements: Haflinger horses with confirmed LSCC (confirmed by pathology), or horses that have never been diagnosed with LSCC that are at least 13 years old. Horses that are suspicious for LSCC are invited to participate, but confirmation would be required prior to inclusion in the study.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Any horse with confirmed LSCC does not need to be evaluated in person to participate. Participation for horses with confirmed LSCC involves providing (1) a copy of a pathology report confirming LSCC, (2) the horse’s registered name for pedigree analysis, and (3) a hair sample. Horses that have not had LSCC and are at least 13 years old will need to be examined by a boarded veterinary ophthalmologist to confirm that they don’t have LSCC. This may be done at UC-Davis VMTH or elsewhere.

Procedures:

  • Participation in this clinical trial, which could last between 15 minutes to one hour, will include discussion of the horse’s medical history, documentation on known pedigree information, examination of the horse’s eyes by a veterinary ophthalmologist, photography of the horse to document coat color and any abnormalities found in the eyes, and collection of hair samples from the horse’s mane.
    • Examination of a horse’s eyes is similar to examination of a person’s eyes, with lights and magnifying lenses shone into the eyes to see if they are normal, or if any signs suspicious for LSCC are present.
    • For some horses, hair samples may be collected from the mane, similar to pulling the mane for show but only pulling a very small sample of about 50 hairs. This hair would be used to isolate DNA for genetic studies to help understand which genes may be involved in the development of LSCC.
  • Follow up phone calls or emails may be necessary if any questions about the horse’s medical history arise after the examination.
  • If any horse objects to having their eyes examined or to having mane hair pulled, these procedures would not be performed.

Benefits: If you are selected to participate in the study, the study will cover the costs associated with eye examination and mane pulling; however, if a presumptive diagnosis of SCC is made for your horse, any further diagnostics or therapy associated with the diagnosis of SCC will be your responsibility.

We cannot promise any benefits to your horse or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits include lowering the incidence of this common eye cancer in Haflingers and other affected breeds, helping breeders to make informed mating decisions, and better prediction of the risk of developing disease for earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Owner Responsibilities: Financially, you will be responsible for covering any costs associated with injuries sustained while participating in this trial and any costs associated with follow up of your animal at VMTH for assessment.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Cats

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (Oral): Tumor Collection

Title: Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Repository study

Purpose of Study: UC Davis is collecting oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma samples to populate a tissue bank for future research studies.

Contact: Please talk to your oncologist at the time of your cat's visit.

Participation Requirements: Cats with confirmed diagnosis of oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Cats with a confirmed diagnosis of oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma,

Procedures: After receiving consent from owners, a sample of the tumor is banked at the time of your cat's visit.

Benefits: There is no cost to the owner for participation in this study. The samples collected will be stored for future use of investigators with the ultimate goal of developing a treatment and prevention for the variety of cancers.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner only needs to consent to the sample being collected at the time of your cat's visit.

Variety of Tumors: Assessing Minimally Invasive Tumor Ablation

Title: Thermal ablation of cancer in dogs and cats

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the outcome of treating veterinary patients with minimally invasive tumor ablation technologies including cryoablation and microwave ablation. These methods are growing in the treatment of a variety of cancers in the human medical field, but information in veterinary patients is currently very limited. To date we have completed a study on cryoablation in nasal tumor patients, and this technique has been very successful in reducing tumor volume in nasal tumor patients – although there are no more spots in the formal nasal tumor study, because of this success, we continue to offer this technique as a clinical service to nasal cancer patients, and are expanding the types of cancer that we are evaluating.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators (Conni, or Caleb) to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey. The coordinators will likely advise you to send your pet's medical records and imaging results for Dr. Steffey's review. If, based on this information, your pet is deemed an appropriate candidate, an appointment will be scheduled.

Participation Requirements: In order to participate in this study, your pet must have **solitary** malignant soft tissue or bony mass **that is deemed amenable to ablation**. Tumor types that MAY be amenable to this treatment include lung tumors, kidney tumors, adrenal tumors, and bone tumors in certain locations. however determination of eligibility is complex and relates to the size of the lesion as well as proximity to/involvement of other important nearby structures. Tumors that are superficial (involving or near to the skin) or that involve the gastrointestinal tract are not amenable to this treatment.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the V.M.T.H. Small Animal Surgery, Internal Medicine, or Oncology services.

Procedures: If you agree to participate, under general anesthesia, ablation probes will be placed into your pet’s mass under ultrasound guidance and the tumor will be ablated.

Benefits: This treatment method may only be palliative, but it is our hope that in appropriately selected patients, we may improve quality of life as well as longevity.

Owner Responsibilities: The study will cover the cost of the ablation probes and generator. Costs of pre-operative workup, general anesthesia, recommended imaging, hospitalization, and general management of the disease process or any complications that occur during treatment are your responsibility.

Variety of Tumors and Diseases: Improving operative detection of tumors

Title: Fluorescent imaging of cancer

Purpose of Study: Near-infrared fluorescent imaging utilizes special wavelengths of light to identify important structures, and is used in surgery to improve surgical decision making. The fluorescent light is generated by a special contrast agent (a “fluorophore”) that is injected into the patient. When a special light source is used to illuminate the surgical site, any tissue in which this fluorophore is located will glow, aiding the surgeon in identifying the location or extent of disease. Based on early experiments in rodents and human clinical trials, this very sensitive tool has the potential to improve surgical decision-making and improve overall treatment for a wide variety of diseases. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of this imaging modality in veterinary patients presenting with naturally occurring neuroendocrine tumors disease processes.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey.

Participation Requirements: Cats with the following conditions are most likely to benefit from this study: hyperparathyroidism, thyroid cancer, pancreatic cancer, adrenal cancer, thymoma, mammary (breast) cancer, lung cancer, anal sac gland cancer, oral cancer, mast cell tumor. Cats with severe kidney or liver disease are not eligible to participate.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the V.M.T.H. Small Animal Surgery, Internal Medicine, or Oncology services.

Procedures: If you agree to participate, the best fluorophore for your pet’s tumor will be administered or intravenously, at a dose and timing considered to be optimal by your attending veterinarian.

Benefits: It is hoped, but is not known if there will be a specific benefit to your individual pet. Fluorescent imaging may or may not improve operative localization and dissection of your pet’s tumor.

Owner Responsibilities: Costs of standard pre-operative workup, general anesthesia, recommended imaging, hospitalization, and general management of your pet’s disease process or any complications that occur during treatment are your responsibility. The cost of the fluorophore and special imaging is covered by the study. There are no risks associated with the imaging itself, as it only involves light; there is no radiation exposure to the patient. The fluorophores used in this study are FDA-approved for use in humans and have been used without complication in our hospital for the past 18 months. The primary risk of this procedure is associated with injection of these drugs is an allergic reaction, which is very rare, but unpredictable in an individual patient (like any other drug reaction, including antibiotics). If an allergic reaction should occur, immediate costs of treatment (immediate supportive medications, support of blood pressure) will be covered by the study; however, the owner will be responsible for any treatment costs for prolonged or severe complications.

Dogs

NEW! Prostate/Bladder/Urethra Tumors: Assessing the Outcome Associated with Urethral Stents and Utilizing New Techniques for Placement

Title: Prospective Evaluation of Outcome and the Use of Transrectal Ultrasound Associated with Urethral Stent Placement in Dogs with Lower Urinary Tract Neoplasia

Purpose of Study: Cancer resulting in obstruction of the lower urinary tract of dogs is most commonly found in the prostate, urinary bladder and urethra (tube responsible for draining urine out of the body). Unfortunately, cancer of the lower urinary tract often results in complete blockage of the urethra, causing a patient to be unable to pass urine. The inability to urinate is a life-threatening emergency.

The placement of urethral stents is generally performed with fluoroscopic-guidance (use of “real-time” x-rays). While fluoroscopy is useful for stent placement, there may be other techniques that could be considered. Traditionally, ultrasonographic assessment of tumor size and location has been performed by transabdominal ultrasound (where the ultrasound probe is placed on the abdominal wall to allow for visualization of organs within the abdomen), but this method can be inaccurate. The use of transrectal ultrasound (where an ultrasound probe is placed into the rectum) circumvents these previously discussed problems, and therefore, the purpose of this study is to evaluate this technique for efficacy.

Contact: Contact Dr. Culp for details at wculp@ucdavis.edu or make an appointment by calling (530) 752-1393.

Participation Requirements: Dogs with a diagnosis of prostatic, bladder or urethral cancer and secondary urethral obstruction for whom a stent is being offered/recommended and believed to be clinically beneficial

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Consultation with Dr. Culp

Procedures:

  • Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS), fluoroscopy (real time “x-rays”) and urethral stent placement under anesthesia
  • Completion of questionnaires pre-stent placement, 2-weeks post-stent placement and 3-months post-stent placement to assess outcome

Benefits: The study will cover the fluoroscopy, ultrasound, and anesthesia.

Benefits of enrolling in this study include financial support for the ultrasound, stent placement and anesthesia. We hope that the data acquired in this study will allow us to advance the treatment of cancer in both pets and people.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for covering equipment costs associated with the urethral stent placement and any complications of the procedure, keeping all scheduled appointments and completing a questionnaire pre-stent placement, 2 weeks after stent placement and 3 months after stent placement.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

NEW! Oral Tumors: Optimizing the Identification of Tumor Spread To Lymph Nodes

Title: Preoperative sentinel lymph node mapping in dogs

Purpose of Study: Successful treatment of many cancers depends on the extent of disease present at the time of diagnosis, and on accurate detection of that disease. Some oral cancers commonly spread from the mouth to nearby lymph nodes. Lymph node metastasis, if present, can influence the prognosis and treatment recommendations made for a patient. Currently, however, our standard veterinary staging protocol (aspiration cytology of the geographically nearest lymph node) misses a diagnosis of lymph node metastasis in a concerning number of patients. Because lymphatic pathways and lymph nodes of the head are very complicated and the closest lymph node is not necessarily the most likely to show disease, it is possible to miss disease because we do not know which is the best lymph node to evaluate. Lymph node mapping, a technique to visualize the lymphatic drainage of tumors, is increasingly used to improve cancer staging and treatment protocols in the treatment of cancer in people. Mapping allows identification of the “sentinel lymph node,” or lymph node that is most likely to demonstrate evidence of metastatic disease. This lymph node can then be aspirated or surgically removed with the primary tumor to be evaluated microscopically for spread of cancer. This trial is being performed to optimize a method of sentinel lymph node mapping that can be accessible to a greater number of veterinary practitioners in an effort to improve the accuracy of cancer diagnoses and treatment recommendations we make for our veterinary patients, improving their quality of life and length of time with us following diagnosis with this cancer.

Contact: If you are interested in determining whether your dog is eligible for the trial, please schedule an appointment for evaluation with one of the participating clinical services by calling the Small Animal Clinic at (530) 752-1393 and following the prompts for either Soft Tissue Surgery, Dentistry and Oral Surgery or Oncology. For general questions not related to your own dog’s eligibility, please contact Dr. Steffey (530-752-3799, masteffey@ucdavis.edu).

Participation Requirements:

  • Dogs diagnosed with an oral tumor with owners that have elected to surgically remove the tumor.
  • Ineligible: Dogs with pre-existing, palpably very large lymph nodes

Initial Evaluation for Participation: If you choose to enroll your dog, your dog will receive two CT scans on separate days: the first done for standard diagnostic/surgical planning, and the second done immediately prior to surgery. Both CT scans will be performed with contrast while under general anesthesia.

Benefits: All costs associated with this study, including the second CT scan and the 1 hour of extra anesthesia time associated with each CT scans will be paid by the sponsor. Additionally, a financial benefit of $500 will be credited to your VMTH account after your dog completes the second CT scan on the day of his/her surgery.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your dog to the UC Davis VMTH for his/her scheduled appointments, covering costs associated with the standard diagnostic workup of your dog’s tumor, the first (diagnostic/surgical planning) CT scan, and standard costs associated with surgical removal of the oral tumor, and allowing him/her to be hospitalized for the required length of time pre- and postoperatively.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

NEW! Prostate Cancer: Assessing New Method to Identify Bacterial Infections in Male Dogs

Title: Use of prostatic aspirate culture to identify bacterial infection in dogs with prostatic neoplasia

Purpose: Urinary tract infections are known to be common in dogs with urinary tract cancer so regular urine cultures are recommended. Male dogs and dogs with prostatic cancer are known to be less likely to have positive urine cultures than females with cancer in their bladder or urethra. This may be because male dogs are less prone to infection or because the prostate contains an infection that is not also present in the urine or bladder. The purpose of this study is to determine whether it is possible to obtain useful bacterial culture samples from prostates in dogs with prostate cancer and to determine whether results of these cultures correlate with urine cultures collected directly from the bladder.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators via email (oncologyclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu) or phone (530-752-0125 or 530-752-9759)

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with or is suspected to have prostate cancer

Initial Evaluation for Participation:  The cost of the initial exam to determine if your dog has presumed or confirmed prostatic neoplasia is your responsibility.

Procedures:  If you agree to let your dog participate in this study, the following will happen:

  • An ultrasound to locate your dog’s bladder and prostate
  • Insertion of a small needle to collect urine from the bladder and two small needles into his prostate to collect prostatic samples
  • Sedation may be used if deemed necessary by the veterinarian

Benefits: The sponsor will cover cost associated with sedation (including drugs), ultrasound-guided urine and prostatic sample collection, lab tests to analyze urine and prostatic samples, and a credit of $75 that will be taken off of your dog’s medical bill if you agree to have your dog participate in the trial.

Results from this study may lead to the detection of a bacterial infection that would not have been detected with urine culture alone. This trial may also help us understand whether dogs with prostate cancer should undergo regular prostate culture to look for these types of secondary infections.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your dog to the clinic for the study procedures. We expect that participation in this clinical trial will be complete within one day and take one hour or less to complete all study related procedures.

NEW! Oral Melanoma: Assessing a Treatment

Title: OMX-4.80 (Zox) a novel protein oxygen transporter and radiation sensitizer for dogs with oral melanoma

Purpose: One reason tumors can be resistant to radiation therapy because of low levels of oxygen in the tumors. Another reason is that low levels of oxygen leads to local immune suppression. We anticipate that the treatment will carry oxygen to the tumor and hopefully restore normal oxygen levels to the tumor and make it more responsive to treatment.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators via email (oncologyclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu) or phone (530-752-0125 or 530-752-9759)

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with a biopsy confirmed melanoma

Initial Evaluation for Participation:  Prior to enrollment your dog must have a physical examination, a CBC, a Chemistry Panel and Chest X-rays to make sure they are eligible for the trial.

Procedures:  It is important to note that radiotherapy treatments are being done as part of the normal treatment of this disease. If your dog is enrolled in the study, the following will be done:

  • On Day 1, On Day 1, we will administer a drug to mark oxygen levels, collect and analyze blood, biopsy your dog’s tumor under anesthesia, and do a CT scan to plan for radiation therapy and administer the oxygen carrier.
  • On Day 2, we will administer another oxygen marker and biopsy of your dog's tumor under anesthesia.
  • On Day 4, we will take blood, anesthetize your dog for an additional biopsy and begin your dog’s radiation treatment which will be once a week for four weeks.
  • After the second radiation treatment, we will collect another biopsy.
  • We will collect blood after the third and fourth radiation therapy session (each one week apart as part of the normal course of treatment).
  • In the event of death, we would strongly encourage you to allow a necropsy to be performed so we can try to determine the cause of death.

Benefits: The study will cover costs associated with study drugs, drug administration, day hospitalizations for the study, the radiation planning CT scan and the associated anesthesia, blood work for the study, and biopsies.  Additionally, the study will also cover up to $2,000 in medical costs if there is an unanticipated side effect from the study and up to $2,000 credit onto your dog’s medical bill at the end of the study to be used for the cost of radiation therapy.

Results from this study may lead to an improvement of your dog’s response to treatments such as radiotherapy.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this clinical trial will take 5 weeks and anticipate each visit taking 6-8 hours. If you decide to have your dog participate in the trial, you will be responsible for keeping each scheduled appointment, ensuring that your dog has not eaten food for at least 12 hours prior to any anesthetic procedure, and covering costs associated with the radiation therapy required to enter the study.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Irregular Heartbeat (Ventricular Arrhythmias): Reducing the Risk during Chemotherapy

Title: Use of diphenhydramine to reduced fewer infusion-related ventricular arrhythmias in dogs treated with doxorubicin

Purpose: The current recommendation for canine lymphoma treatment includes the use of a chemotherapy drug called doxorubicin. Although effective, one of the reported side effects of doxorubicin is the liberation of a molecule called histamine, which can cause ventricular arrhythmias (an irregular rhythm). The concurrent use of anti-histamine agents like diphenhydramine (commonly known as Benadryl) with doxorubicin therapy could possibly reduce these abnormal beats. Therefore, the aim of this study is to see if use of diphenhydramine can reduce the risk of arrhythmias sometimes associated with the administration of chemotherapy.

Contact:

  • Dr. Joshua A. Stern, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Cardiology) at 530-752-4892 or jstern@ucdavis.edu
  • Dr. Jenna H Burton. DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology) at 530-752-0629 or jhburton@ucdavis.edu

Participation Requirements: Dogs that have been diagnosed with lymphoma

Initial Evaluation for Participation:  Should you decide to enroll your dog in the clinical trial, your pet would receive a free Echocardiogram screening before receiving Doxorubicin. This would occur at one of the chemotherapy visits prior to the first Doxorubicin treatment.

Procedures: 

  • As part of this study, your animal will receive the same diagnostic tests and care that any other dog presented to the Oncology Service would receive. If your dog participated, an anti-histamine drug (diphenhydramine) will be given at only one out of the two study visits.
  • If your dog participated, an anti-histamine drug (diphenhydramine) will be given at only one out of the two study visits.
  • To evaluate the efficacy of diphenhydramine, your dog will wear a portable and battery-operated device that measures heart's activity (Holter monitor) for 3 hours after the infusion of chemotherapy while your dog is still at the VMTH.

Benefits: If you agree to have your dog participate in this study, the screening echocardiogram and your dog’s Holter monitor will be analyzed by a board-certified veterinary cardiologist and will be free of charge. Adverse events are not expected from the use of diphenhydramine; the study will cover up to $3,000 of your dog’s care if any adverse events occur that are attributable to the investigational portion of the study (use of diphenhydramine or not as a pre-medication for doxorubicin) and your dog requires further care (e.g., hospitalization).

Results from this trial may help us to better guide medical care for your dog and future dogs affected with the same disease. The understanding of your dog’s electrocardiogram may guide medical decisions.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this clinical trial will last for two visits of the traditional CHOP chemotherapy protocol.

Costs associated with the recommended chemotherapy protocol and patient care will be your responsibility as they are not a part of this study. Additionally, costs associated with side effects that are attributable to doxorubicin administration (decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and/or low white blood cells counts) will not be covered by the study.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

NEW! Brain Tumors: Assessing a New Drug Delivery System

Title: MPR nanoparticles to define brain tumor margins in canine primary brain tumors: Phase I pilot study

Purpose: This clinical trial is being done to investigate whether small particles called nanoporhphyrins can be used to better visualize tumors during surgery and potentially to see if they will be a useful method to deliver drugs into brain tumors for treatment.

ContactContact Lisa Winn (Neurology Scheduling Coordinator) at llwinn@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1393 and follow the prompts for Neurology/Neurosurgery

Participation Requirements: Dogs provisionally diagnosed with a brain tumor

Procedures: If you agree to let your dog participate in this study, the following will happen:

  • Administration of nanoparticles approximately 12-36 hours, collection of blood and urine for analysis prior to surgery
  • Brain surgery to remove the tumor (standard therapy for brain tumors)
  • Blood collection 1-week post-administration of nanoparticles

Benefits: The study will provide up to $5,000 credit towards your dog’s treatment. 

We hope that this technique will help us to better visualize the tumor on MRI, allowing for better planning of the surgery. Information obtained from your dog's treatment may help to further develop this type of treatment for both dogs and humans and could improve the treatment in both species in the future.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for keeping all scheduled appointments, and covering the costs of your dog’s standard treatment during the clinical trial and any complications arising from that treatment or from the clinical trial procedures. 

Mast Cell Tumors: Assessing Lymph Node Mapping

Title: Sentinel lymph node mapping in dogs with mast cell tumors

Purpose of Study: Mast cell tumors are a very common skin tumor in dogs, and a common mechanism of spread in the body (metastasis) is to nearby lymph nodes. If tumor spread to lymph nodes is identified (as part of staging), this is important information that often influences treatment recommendations. Currently, standard protocols for looking for metastasis in lymph nodes most commonly include aspiration cytology. Aspiration cytology is minimally invasive, but may miss a diagnosis of lymph node metastasis in a concerning number of patients – early literature suggests metastatic disease may be missed by lymph node aspiration in up to 40% of patients! The concern is that not only does aspiration cytology only sample a very small amount of a given lymph node, but that it is difficult to ensure that we have correctly predicted the optimal lymph node to sample for any given mast cell tumor. Lymph node mapping, a technique to visualize the lymphatic drainage of tumors by which tumor cells might spread, is increasingly used to improve cancer staging and treatment protocols in the treatment of cancer in humans. Efforts are made to identify the “sentinel lymph node,” or primary lymph node that is most likely to demonstrate evidence of metastatic disease if it is present. This lymph node can then be surgically removed with the primary tumor, in order to be evaluated microscopically for spread of cancer. However the common method of sentinel lymph node mapping performed in people is not widely available to veterinarians. This trial is being performed to hopefully identify an alternative method of sentinel lymph node mapping that can be more widely accessible to a greater number of veterinary practitioners. By doing so, we hope that this will improve the accuracy of cancer diagnoses and treatment recommendations we make for dogs with mast cell tumors and other cancers, improving their quality of life and lifespan.

Contact:

Participation Requirements: Dogs must have been diagnosed with a peripheral mast cell tumor, have been evaluated by or received a consult from a clinician the Soft Tissue Surgery service to determine if LN mapping is viable for your individual dog, and you have elected surgical excision of this tumor both for diagnostic and treatment purposes.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the U.C. Davis V.M.T.H. Oncology or Soft Tissue Surgery services. Specific preoperative diagnostic tests to ensure that your pet is safe for surgical removal of the mast cell tumor will be recommended by the clinician that you consult with on these services.

Procedures: If you choose to enroll your dog, lymph node mapping procedures will be performed the day before and the day of surgery. These will be discussed in more detail at the time of your appointment.

Benefits: The study will cover costs associated with the sentinel lymph node mapping imaging. There is no charge to you for these procedures.

Possible benefits of participating in this study for your dog include more sensitive identification of metastasis (spread of cancer) if it is present. If early metastasis is more sensitively identified, we can then make more accurate treatment recommendations for your pet. It is our hope that in addition to benefiting your dog, we will benefit future patients by advancing the standard of care offered when treating this type of cancer, improving care provided to larger numbers of veterinary cancer patients.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your dog to the U.C. Davis V.M.T.H. for 1) preoperative evaluation of and 2) surgical removal of the mast cell tumor, and covering the standard costs associated with medical workup for and surgical removal of the mast cell tumor.

If you are calling to schedule an appointment and already know that you are interested in having your dog participate in this study, please inform the coordinators so that they can make sure to schedule appropriately for the mapping procedures.

Osteosarcoma: Assessing an Immunotherapy

Title: Radiation and Autologous Natural Killer Immunotherapy in Canine Osteosarcoma

Purpose of Study: Even when we can get local control of osteosarcoma, most dogs will die of their disease within a year even if they have amputation and chemotherapy. The goal is to see if we can slow or stop the formation of lung metastasis (spread of tumor to your dog’s lungs which occurs in over 90% of cases).

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators via email (oncologyclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu) or phone (530-752-0125 or 530-752-9759)

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with or strongly suspected of having osteosarcoma in the pelvis or one of the legs based on x-rays and staging tests to ensure his/her general health and to evaluate how advanced the disease is prior to treatment.

Initial Evaluation for Participation:  You are responsible for covering initial office visit, chest films, blood work (CBC/Biochemistry Panel), urinalysis, and diagnosis confirming Osteosarcoma.

Procedures: 

  • After enrollment, we will do a CT scan of the tumor and lungs, take a biopsy, collect blood (to grow your dogs natural killer cells), and complete a standard dose of palliative (pain reducing) radiation consisting of four once weekly doses.
  • One week after finishing radiotherapy, we will give the first of two injections into your dog’s tumor with your dog’s NK cells that we have grown, and take a biopsy.
  • One week later, we will need you to come back for the second injection of NK cells.
  • Three and six months later, we will then need you to come back for a CT of the lungs and a biopsy.

Benefits: While palliative radiation is known to be beneficial in decreasing pain in the majority of dogs with osteosarcoma, we do not know if there will be a direct therapeutic benefit to your dog or other dogs by your enrolling your dog to take part in this trial but we hope to help come up with a new treatment for this disease.

Owner Responsibilities: Once enrolled in the clinical trial, you are responsible for scheduling and keeping all appointments needed for study participation and reporting any side effects of the treatment to your doctor in a timely manner.

You are responsible for covering costs associated with the initial diagnosis and palliative radiotherapy. After determining if your dog is eligible and you agree to participate, the study will cover the cost of biopsies, CT scans, anesthesia for the injection of the activated immune cells as well as the cost for us to grow these cells. You will also receive a credit of $1,500 towards the cost of palliative radiation to be applied to your bill at the VMTH at the day of second injection of the NK cells. In the event any complications arise during the study period that are related to biopsy or intratumoral injections but not your dog’s tumor, their management will be covered by study funds up to $1000/per dog to be used at the UC Davis VMTH.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Large Bowel Disease: Evaluating New Diagnostic Tool

Title: Evaluation of CT pneumocolonography as a diagnostic tool for large bowel disease in dogs

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of imaging findings on surgical decision-making in dogs with colonic and rectal disease of any kind (cancer or non-cancer). This part of the body can be a very difficult region examine with current imaging methods, which also do not provide optimal spatial information important if a surgical procedure is needed. In early studies, we have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of the CT pneumocolonography procedure in normal dogs, but it is important that we learn to accurately interpret the imaging findings for a wide variety of disease processes in clinical patients so that our CT diagnoses are accurate. Our goal is to compare the imaging findings obtained with CT pneumocolonography with the current standard of care of colonoscopy and colonoscopic biopsies.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 to schedule an appointment with the Internal Medicine Service. When scheduling, please indicate your interest in the CT pneumocolonography study with Dr. Steffey/Dr Marks.

Participation Requirements: In order to participate in this study, a colonoscopic exam must have been recommended for workup of your dog’s problem, and your dog must be scheduled to receive a colonoscopic exam under general anesthesia at UC Davis.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: If you agree to participate, your dog will receive a CT scan (with and without intravenous contrast material) in conjunction with carbon dioxide gas insufflated into the rectal lumen. Following CT pneumocolonography, your dog will receive the scheduled colonoscopy, which is the current standard of care for assessment of these masses, and if clinically indicated for the care of your dog, colonic biopsies or surgery will be obtained according to your discussion with your attending clinician.

Benefits: In return for participation in this study, your dog will receive a free CT scan (an approximately $800 value to you), which may directly benefit your dog, as it can provide important information for treatment recommendations that other types of imaging cannot. CT evaluation of local lymph nodes is an additional benefit as CT has been demonstrated to be very helpful in the evaluation of regional lymph nodes for metastatic disease in other types of cancer in other locations.

Owner Responsibilities: There is no additional cost to you for your dog’s participation in the study. You are financially responsible for hospital costs associated with the standard care of your dog, including abdominal ultrasound, general anesthesia, colonoscopy, hospitalization, biopsies, and any other diagnostic tests recommended for evaluation of your dog’s disease by your attending clinician.

Lung Tumors: Identifying Lymph Node Metastasis

Title: Assessment of methods of improving identification of regional lymph nodes in patients with lung cancer

Purpose of Study: Knowing whether or not there is metastatic tumor in the regional lymph nodes is very important prognostic information for dogs with lung tumors, as dogs that do not have metastatic disease in their lymph nodes in general have a much longer lifespan. Chemotherapy is often recommended for patients who have metastatic disease, but is not recommended for dogs who do not have metastatic spread. The aim of this study is to provide information that will allow us to better identify these lymph nodes at surgery, to improve the safety of surgical dissection, and to minimize surgical time during removal of these lymph nodes.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey.

Participation Requirements:

  • A diagnosis of a solitary lung tumor
  • Your decision to pursue surgical removal of your dog’s lung tumor

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the V.M.T.H. Small Animal Surgery, Internal Medicine, or Oncology services. A CT scan at the VMTH is part of the normal expected surgical planning for lung tumor surgery at our institution, and is the financial responsibility of the client, but may be performed under the same anesthetic episode as the planned surgery. Dogs with severe kidney or liver disease are not eligible to participate.

Procedures: During CT and surgery, special dyes will be injected intravenously or into the lung around your dog’s tumor and uptake by the regional lymph nodes will be assessed.

Benefits: Information regarding the status of your dog’s lymph nodes is very important in prognosis for this disease. This technique will help surgeons to identify and more safely remove your dog's lymph nodes at surgery; pathology of the removed lymph node(s) will provide improved information to direct recommendations that we an give you for postoperative care and treatment. If based on the initial CT results you elect to have your dog goes to surgery as part of this study, the study will retroactively pay for the cost of your dog’s CT scan (a $900 value to you).

Owner Responsibilities: There is no anticipated additional cost to you for your dog’s participation in the study. The cost of the dyes and operative imaging are covered by the study. The primary risks of this procedure are 1) allergic reaction to the drugs used to identify the lymph nodes (very rare, but unpredictable in an individual patient (like any other drug reaction, including antibiotics)), and 2) air leakage from the lung at the site of the injection (if it occurs, this should be a short term problem, as removal of the affected lung will be performed as part of the tumor removal). If an allergic reaction should occur, immediate costs of treatment (immediate supportive medications, support of blood pressure) will be covered by the study; however, the owner will be responsible for any treatment costs for prolonged or severe complications. Standard anesthetic and surgical risks of lung surgery and lymph node surgery will apply and will be discussed at the time of your visit.

Mast Cell Tumors: Assessing a Potential Treatment

Title: Phase 3 study to compare the efficacy of Masitinib to placebo in the treatment of grade II or III non-resectable mast cell tumors in dogs

Purpose of Study: Surgical removal is generally recommended as the first step in treatment of mast cell tumors; however, sometimes surgery is not possible due to the size or location of the tumor or due to financial limitations. In that situation, treatment with steroids, chemotherapy or targeted therapies such as Masitinib may be beneficial in controlling the disease. Preliminary studies of Masitinib in dogs showed that it caused tumor shrinkage in 50% of dogs with mast cell tumors and increased 1- and 2-year survival rates in dogs with nonresectable mast cell tumors compared to placebo. Based on this data, Masitinib has conditional approval by the FDA for treatment of non-resectable grade 2 or 3 mast cell tumors in dogs. The objective of the study is to evaluate the anti-cancer effects of Masitinib in comparison to a placebo in dogs with grade 2 or 3 mast cell tumors that have not been previously removed or treated with chemotherapy or radiation. If this study confirms these results, the drug will become fully approved.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators via email (oncologyclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu) or phone (530-752-0125 or 530-752-9759)

Participation Requirements

Initial Evaluation for Participation:  Contact the Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators via email (oncologyclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu) or phone (530-752-0125 or 530-752-9759)

Procedures: If your dog is enrolled, a small biopsy will be taken from the mast cell tumor to confirm grade and for additional testing. Your dog will then be randomly assigned to receive treatment with either Masitinib or a placebo with two-thirds of the dogs receiving Masitinib and one-third receiving placebo. You will not know whether you are giving the study drug or the placebo (even after you dog has completed the study). Your pet will come in every other week for examination, tumor measurement, blood work and imaging tests (x-rays and/or ultrasound) to check for cancer progression and/or side effects from the drug. No more than 1 tablespoon of blood will be drawn per visit. More invasive testing (fine needle aspiration) will only occur if your veterinarian is concerned about spread of the cancer or to monitor spread to a lymph node that has already occurred. Your dog cannot receive steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during the study period, but can receive medications to treat nausea, diarrhea, infection, itchiness, and pain if needed.

Benefits: You are responsible for the initial consult visit fee at UCDavis.  If you and your dog meet the inclusion/exclusion criteria, staging will be covered by study (Blood work, Biopsy, Bone Marrow Aspirates, Radiographs, Ultrasound) regardless if your dog qualifies. 

Although not all tumors will respond to Masitinib, it is possible that the drug may help control your dog’s mast cell tumor. The information gathered from this study may help other dogs with mast cell tumors in the future by determining whether Masitinib is an effective treatment for non-resectable grade 2 or 3 mast cell tumors.

Owner Responsibilities: If you elect to participate in this study, you will be responsible for scheduling and keeping appointments every two weeks. If you have to miss an appointment, please try to reschedule as soon as possible by calling 530-752-1393 (press 3,3 to reach the Oncology Schedule Coordinator). You will also be responsible for giving your dog the study medication as directed every day and for reporting any side effects of the drug to your doctor in a timely manner.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Nasal cancer: Using a Combination of Therapies for Treatment

Title: Nasal tumors: Intra-arterial Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy to Treat Nasal Carcinoma

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to prospectively evaluate the response of nasal cancer to a combination of therapies (chemotherapy and radiation therapy) in dogs.

Contact: Contact Dr. Culp for details at wculp@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1393.

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with nasal tumors

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Contact Dr. Culp for details at wculp@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1393.

Procedures: Dogs that are scheduled to receive radiation therapy for the treatment of nasal cancer can be enrolled in the study. Dogs will be placed into a group receiving radiation therapy alone or with chemotherapy.  Response to these treatments will be assessed with CT scans (done before and after treatment).

Benefits: The CT scans, chemotherapy administration, and part of the radiation therapy will be paid for by the study.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner will be responsible for providing follow-up information to the treating clinicians and returning the dog 4 weeks after initiation of radiation therapy for a second CT evaluation (the first is performed prior to treatment).

Prostate cancer: Evaluating Embolization as a Treatment Option

Title: Evaluation of the Use of Embolization in the Treatment of Prostatic Neoplasia

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this project is to describe the procedure of prostatic artery embolization in a group of dogs with naturally-occurring prostate cancer. A secondary objective is to evaluate the effect that prostatic artery embolization has on clinical signs and the size of the tumor.

Contact: Contact Dr. Culp for details at wculp@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1393.

Participation Requirements: Dogs with prostate cancer

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Contact Dr. Culp for details at wculp@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1393.

Procedures: Dogs will undergo prostatic artery embolization. Pre-procedural ultrasound imaging and computed tomographic findings will be compared to post-procedural ultrasound imaging and computed tomographic findings. Complications associated with the procedure will be recorded and owners will receive a questionnaire to assess the clinical signs of the dog both pre- and post-procedure.

Benefits: The benefits of enrolling in this study include financial support for both pre- and post-procedure diagnostics. Additionally, funding from this grant will be applied towards the procedure. We hope that the data acquired in this study will allow us to advance the treatment of cancer in both dogs and people.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner will be responsible for scheduling appointments (initial and 1 month follow-up) and keeping those appointments as required by protocol.

Prostate, Urethra and/or Bladder Tumors: Evaluating Urethral Stent Outcomes

Title: Outcome Associated with Urethral Stent Placement

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this project is to determine the outcome of dogs with cancer-induced urethral obstructions and in dogs with urethral stents.

Contact: Contact Dr. Culp for details at wculp@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1393.

Participation Requirements: Dogs with tumors causing obstruction of the urethra (bladder, urethra and prostate)

Initial Evaluation for Participation, Procedures, Benefits and Owner Responsibilities: Contact Dr. Culp for details at wculp@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1393.

Variety of Tumors: Assessing Minimally Invasive Tumor Ablation

Title: Thermal ablation of cancer in dogs and cats

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the outcome of treating veterinary patients with minimally invasive tumor ablation technologies including cryoablation and microwave ablation. These methods are growing in the treatment of a variety of cancers in the human medical field, but information in veterinary patients is currently very limited. To date we have completed a study on cryoablation in nasal tumor patients, and this technique has been very successful in reducing tumor volume in nasal tumor patients – although there are no more spots in the formal nasal tumor study, because of this success, we continue to offer this technique as a clinical service to nasal cancer patients, and are expanding the types of cancer that we are evaluating.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey. The coordinators will likely advise you to send your pet's medical records and imaging results for Dr. Steffey's review. If, based on this information, your pet is deemed an appropriate candidate, an appointment will be scheduled.

Participation Requirements: In order to participate in this study, your pet must have **solitary** malignant soft tissue or bony mass **that is deemed amenable to ablation**. Tumor types that MAY be amenable to this treatment include lung tumors, kidney tumors, adrenal tumors, and bone tumors in certain locations. however determination of eligibility is complex and relates to the size of the lesion as well as proximity to/involvement of other important nearby structures. Tumors that are superficial (involving or near to the skin) or that involve the gastrointestinal tract are not amenable to this treatment.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the V.M.T.H. Small Animal Surgery, Internal Medicine, or Oncology services.

Procedures: If you agree to participate, under general anesthesia, ablation probes will be placed into your pet’s mass under ultrasound guidance and the tumor will be ablated.

Benefits: This treatment method may only be palliative, but it is our hope that in appropriately selected patients, we may improve quality of life as well as longevity.

Owner Responsibilities: The study will cover the cost of the ablation probes and generator. Costs of pre-operative workup, general anesthesia, recommended imaging, hospitalization, and general management of the disease process or any complications that occur during treatment are your responsibility.

Variety of Tumors: Sentinel Lymph Node Mapping

Title: Identification of sentinel lymph nodes with intraoperative fluorescence

Purpose of Study: Near-infrared fluorescent imaging utilizes special wavelengths of light to identify important structures, and is used in surgery to improve surgical decision making. The fluorescent light is generated by a special contrast agent (a “fluorophore”) that is injected into the patient. When a special light source is used to illuminate the surgical site, any tissue in which this fluorophore is located will glow, aiding the surgeon in identifying the location or extent of disease. Based on early experiments in rodents and human clinical trials, this very sensitive tool has the potential to improve surgical decision-making and improve overall treatment for a wide variety of diseases. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of this imaging modality in veterinary patients presenting with natural disease processes.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey.

Participation Requirements: Dogs scheduled for surgery to treat their primary tumor, and for whom clients are interested in improving their pet’s staging information by lymph node biopsy. Dogs most likely to benefit from this technique include those with primary lung tumors, mast cell tumors, oral cancers, and carcinomas in general, as these are types of tumors that tend to exhibit spread by the lymphatic system. Tumors may be external (skin associated) or internal. Dogs with severe kidney or liver disease are not eligible to participate.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by Dr. Michele Steffey on the Soft Tissue Surgery Service.

Procedures: The best fluorophore for your pet’s tumor will be administered either subcutaneously or intravenously, at a dose and timing considered to be optimal by your attending veterinarian.

Benefits: Preliminary, not yet published results have demonstrated that the fluorescent imaging is very helpful in locating the important lymph nodes at surgery, which often reduces the amount of dissection needed, and may reduce the amount of time under anesthesia. The purpose of this study is to aid in identifying lymph nodes for improved staging (lymph node biopsy) at the time your pet’s primary tumor is removed. It is hoped, but is not known, if there will be a specific benefit to your individual pet. Depending upon your pet’s specific tumor type and the biopsy results, use of this technique and lymph node biopsy may or may not impact the postoperative treatment recommendations provided to your dog.

Owner Responsibilities: The cost of the fluorophore and special imaging is covered by the study. There are no risks associated with the imaging itself, as it only involves light; there is no radiation exposure to the patient. The fluorophores used in this study are FDA-approved for use in humans and have been used without complication in our hospital for the past 18 months. The primary risk of this procedure is associated with injection of these drugs is an allergic reaction, which is very rare, but unpredictable in an individual patient (like any other drug reaction, including antibiotics). If an allergic reaction should occur, immediate costs of treatment (immediate supportive medications, support of blood pressure) will be covered by the study; however, the owner will be responsible for any treatment costs for prolonged or severe complications.

Variety of Tumors and Diseases: Improving Operative Detection of Tumors

Title: Fluorescent imaging of cancer

Purpose of Study: Near-infrared fluorescent imaging utilizes special wavelengths of light to identify important structures, and is used in surgery to improve surgical decision making. The fluorescent light is generated by a special contrast agent (a “fluorophore”) that is injected into the patient. When a special light source is used to illuminate the surgical site, any tissue in which this fluorophore is located will glow, aiding the surgeon in identifying the location or extent of disease. Based on early experiments in rodents and human clinical trials, this very sensitive tool has the potential to improve surgical decision-making and improve overall treatment for a wide variety of diseases. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of this imaging modality in veterinary patients presenting with naturally occurring neuroendocrine tumors disease processes.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey.

Participation Requirements: Dogs with the following conditions are most likely to benefit from this study: hyperparathyroidism, thyroid cancer, pancreatic cancer, adrenal cancer, thymoma, mammary (breast) cancer, lung cancer, anal sac gland cancer, oral cancer, mast cell tumor. Dogs with severe kidney or liver disease are not eligible to participate.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the V.M.T.H. Small Animal Surgery, Internal Medicine, or Oncology services.

Procedures: If you agree to participate, the best fluorophore for your pet’s tumor will be administered or intravenously, at a dose and timing considered to be optimal by your attending veterinarian.

Benefits: It is hoped, but is not known if there will be a specific benefit to your individual pet. Fluorescent imaging may or may not improve operative localization and dissection of your pet’s tumor.

Owner Responsibilities: Costs of standard pre-operative workup, general anesthesia, recommended imaging, hospitalization, and general management of your pet’s disease process or any complications that occur during treatment are your responsibility. The cost of the fluorophore and special imaging is covered by the study. There are no risks associated with the imaging itself, as it only involves light; there is no radiation exposure to the patient. The fluorophores used in this study are FDA-approved for use in humans and have been used without complication in our hospital for the past 18 months. The primary risk of this procedure is associated with injection of these drugs is an allergic reaction, which is very rare, but unpredictable in an individual patient (like any other drug reaction, including antibiotics). If an allergic reaction should occur, immediate costs of treatment (immediate supportive medications, support of blood pressure) will be covered by the study; however, the owner will be responsible for any treatment costs for prolonged or severe complications.

On Hold Until Further Notice

Osteosarcoma: Assessing a New Addition to Treatment

Title: Evaluation of Oral Rapamycin for Treatment of Dogs with Osteosarcoma

Purpose of Study: Standard therapy for dogs diagnosed with osteosarcoma has long been amputation of the affected limb followed by chemotherapy to prevent the spread of cancer. With this form of treatment, survival times of dogs diagnosed with osteosarcoma is on average about 10 to 12 months with little improvement in survival occurring over the past two decades. Rapamycin is a drug that potentially can inhibit an important pathway in cancer progression known as mTOR. The purpose of this study is to determine if adding the oral drug Rapamycin into the treatment protocol for dogs with osteosarcoma will be safe and improve efficacy of current standard therapies for osteosarcoma in dogs. There will be about 160 dogs taking part in this study that is enrolling dogs nationwide.

Lymphoma (B-cell): Improving Prognosis Prediction Methods in Dogs

Title: Utility of proliferation indices as prognostic markers for diffuse large B cell lymphoma in dogs

Purpose of Study: As is true for human patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, recent data supports the notion that different subtypes of canine lymphoma carry different prognoses, which may warrant different therapies. However, some subtypes of canine lymphoma that look and are classified the same behave differently. Currently, there are few markers available to help predict the outcome in individual dogs diagnosed with common subtypes of lymphoma. The purpose of this study is to:

  • Find markers that will help to better predict prognosis in individual dogs with the most common subtype of lymphoma; and,
  • Determine if these markers can be assessed in fine needle aspirate cytology samples rather than needle-core histopathology samples (the gold standard).
Soft Tissue Sarcoma: Evaluating a New Treatment in Dogs

Title: Pre-clinical evaluation of intratumoral plasmid IL-12 + electroporation in dogs with spontaneous soft tissue sarcoma

Purpose of Study: We have been evaluating ways to activate the immune system into recognizing that a tumor is foreign and attacking it. The purpose of this study is to determine if injecting this investigational drug (Interleukin-12 plasmid or pIL-12 that is administered using electroporation) prior to surgery will help activate the immune system and help stop the tumor from coming back or spreading. This therapy is under investigation in the United States for treatment of cancer and has not been approved for sale by the US FDA for human or veterinary use.