Nanoparticulate cancer drug study set to begin

There could soon be a new weapon in the fight against canine cancer. Researchers at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine are set to begin testing of an anti-cancer drug in dogs this fall.

University of Missouri Assistant Professor of Oncology Kimberly Selting, DVM, DACVIM, will lead the research. Selting said the clinical trial will include 15 dogs, and she will start enrolling patients in mid-October.

Kim Selting, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)
(Photo courtesty of University of Missouri)
“The study will allow any dog with a confirmed diagnosis of cancer, and that has a tumor that is still measureable,” Selting said. “We will note if any particular cancers respond better than others and that will help us design the next phase of this clinical research, knowing which kinds of cancer to target. In people, taxanes are used often for lung and intestinal cancers, as well as breast and other cancers.”
The drug that will be tested on the dogs, Nanotax, is a nanoparticulate form of paclitaxel, a drug often used to treat human cancers. Paclitaxel is a taxane chemotherapy drug, which is usually too toxic for dogs due to the intense allergic reactions it causes. However, the histamine release in dogs is caused by the carrier that the drug is dissolved in, and not the actual drug.
The Morris Animal Foundation (MAF), which helped fund the study, said the new formulation allows the drug to be given to dogs without the side effects.
“When paclitaxel is reformulated into nanoparticles, it is unlikely to cause reactions in dogs because the toxic liquid is not needed to deliver the drug,” according to the MAF. “Nanoparticles also have the advantage of being so small that they are easily taken up in cancer cells. Nanotax, a reformulation of paclitaxel that allows it to be mixed with water, is safe when given intravenously to dogs.”
Selting said the results of this study could bring a lot of benefits to the field of veterinary oncology. 
“This would add a new anticancer drug to our ‘toolbox,’” Selting said. “Having a new kind of drug with a whole new mechanism of action different than any other drug we use will offer us another option when treating cancer.”
She said that once eligibility is established and a dog is enrolled in the study, the cost of care is covered by the study. The dogs will be treated once every three weeks for a total of four treatments, with bloodwork in between treatments.
Selting added that the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital Oncology service has several other open clinical trials for prostate, bladder, bone, and other cancers.

More information
For more information on this or other University of Missouri veterinary studies, call Debbie Tate, CVT, clinical trials coordinator at (573) 882-7821.

NEWStat Advancements & research News