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Upcoming clinical trial for dogs with lung cancer

The Blue Buffalo Veterinary Clinical Trials Office at The Ohio State University (BBVCTO) Is engaged in exciting research to help dogs with lung cancer that could help people fight the disease as well.

Canine pulmonary adenocarcinoma (CPAC) is an aggressive cancer with no standard treatment and little understanding of what is behind the disease. Although CPAC accounts for only 1% of canine cancers, it’s diagnosed in up to 40,000 dogs each year in the US and is becoming more common.

Beyond surgery, no treatments yet extend CPAC survival for dogs. The median survival is one year and is dramatically shorter for dogs whose cancer has spread. This clinical trial could help to change that.

Researchers have now identified a gene mutation in canine lung cancer that they believe can be targeted with a drug currently FDA approved for human breast cancer.

“This is the first precision medicine clinical trial for dogs with lung cancer,” says Dr. Wendy Lorch, DVM, PhD, principal investigator of the trial. “That is, the selection of a cancer therapy for an individual dog is based on the genomic profile of its tumor.”

Additionally, the Ohio State veterinary researchers have developed a new blood test to determine if a dog has the lung cancer mutation, the first available for any canine cancer. This could eventually eliminate the need for a lung tumor biopsy, which is more invasive and potentially dangerous.  

This clinical trial could provide a more targeted approach to canine lung cancer, but how can it help humans? The gene mutation, found in 50% of dogs with CPAC, is identical to its human counterpart. In humans, this mutation hyper-activates tumor cell growth, telling cancer cells to grow continuously.

Human pulmonary adenocarcinoma is an aggressive cancer most often seen in younger women who don’t smoke - and is now the fifth most common cancer in women. Researchers are hopeful that the drug that helps dogs could also help in turning off that mutation in humans.

“Dogs are a really good model for studying this form of cancer in humans,” says Dr. Lorch. Through the clinical trial, veterinary researchers can assess how effective the drug is in extending the dogs’ lives and how long it takes for them to develop resistance, and translate those results to humans.

Ultimately, this clinical trial could be groundbreaking for beloved pets with lung cancer, by looking at their own individual genetic makeup to determine the best treatment. Dr. Lorch says, “This is the first step of personalized medicine for dogs, and it’s for a cancer that we haven’t yet been able to treat effectively.”

This clinical trial will take place in autumn of 2018. Please check the Blue Buffalo Veterinary Clinical Trials Office website for more information as it is available. You can also find information about other clinical trials as well as “Pet Hero” stories about animals who have participated in our studies.


Last updated: 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - 11:27am