Canine cancer trials are striking gold

One form of canine cancer is especially aggressive: nasal adenocarcinoma. And the prognosis is not good. Indeed, without treatment, it can be fatal within three months, according to the National Canine Cancer Foundation.

“With radiation therapy, they get one to two years, and a very small minority may be cured,” Nikolas Dervisis, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVIM: Oncology, in Small Animal Clinical Sciences at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (Virginia-Maryland Vet Med) told the Roanoke Times.

That’s why Dervisis and Shawna Klahn, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM: Oncology, also in Small Animal Clinical Sciences at Virginia-Maryland Vet Med, are running a clinical trial on an experimental therapy, AuroLase®, that uses nanoparticles to “cook” the tumor.

Here’s how it works: doctors inject a solution carrying gold-coated nanoparticles into a patient. (Gold is attracted to blood vessels that feed cancerous tumors.) Once lodged there, a low-powered laser is used to heat up the gold particles and “cook” the tumor from the inside out.

Neither the solution carrying the gold-coated nanoparticles nor the laser that heats up the particles affects healthy tissue.

To date, four dogs have been enrolled in the trial. The first dog has gone into complete remission.

The AuroLase® trial at Virginia-Maryland Vet Med is ongoing and open to new cats and dogs.

AuroLase® animal trials are also underway at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in Athens, the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, and Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, according to the Roanoke Times.

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