Dogs May Have The Key To Fighting Cancer

Experts at the Cleveland Clinic have successfully treated cancer in dogs, and this could lead to an interesting new strategy on how to fight cancer in people as well.

Joseph A. Bauer, PhD at the 237th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, presented research on just this topic. The research built on more than 60 years of effort toward developing a B12 based attack for cancer.

It all started with a “miracle dog” called Oscar, a ten year old Bichon Frise who had a very aggressive cancer known as anal sac adenocarcinoma.

After being treated with the standard chemotherapy and radiation, with no improvement, poor Oscar was left unable to walk and with about three months to live.

As a last hope, Bauer gave the sick dog a cancer killing medicine known as nitrosylcobalamin (NO-Cbl for short).

Within 14 days his condition had improved and he was back on his feet.

The compound has since been given to other dogs with promising results and no negative side effects. This drug targets cancer cells like the fabled “Trojan horse”, a way to cause damage and death, but delivered by being hidden inside something that looks harmless.

The medication is made of nitric oxide that’s attached to vitamin B12. Researchers know that receptors on cell surfaces will attract the vitamin and assist it in getting into the cell.

Cancer cells have more B12 receptors; and so the unsuspecting cancer cell takes in this compound. Once inside, the nitric oxide is released and the cell dies.

Ultrasound and MRI imaging is being used to keep an eye on tumor size in all three of the dogs currently under treatment.

After 9 months of NO-Cbl the spinal tumor of a 6 year old golden retriever, Buddy, has been reduced by 40%, and the inoperable thyroid cancer of a 13 year old female giant schnauzer by 77% in just ten weeks of treatment.

A fourth dog, Haley, also a golden retriever, is being treated for a spinal tumor. And once the team treated ten dogs successfully with the drug, they’ll attempt to get FDA approval to test the medication in people.

Bauer believes firmly that what works in these animals holds promise for treating their owners as well. Despite what you might think, mice aren’t the only good subjects to use for such research.

He suggests that people and dogs are genetically similar – enough to make a successful case for approval from the FDA.

Interesting to know that the National Cancer Institute has data on pets.

After all, they breathe the same air as we do; drink the same water as we do and eat processed foods just as we do.

“We are one of the few research groups that is offering to treat dogs with cancer that otherwise have no hope,” Bauer points out. “With no other options available, most people in this situation opt to euthanize so that their pets don’t go through the pain of disease and trauma of surgery.”

The great news for dog owners is that this treatment offers hope for our faithful friends who may be one of the estimated 6 million dogs in the U.S. diagnosed with cancer every year.

It’s a rare thing for research to uncover a treatment that can be used for animals, and yet holds realistic promise for people as well.

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