Curing Cancer in Kids and Dogs

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My dog has a bone tumor, now what?

We understand the special bond between people and their pets, and have witnessed the deep concern that a cancer diagnosis can cause.

This page describes the opportunities to participate in ongoing clinical trials available through the partnership between Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University-Blue Buffalo Veterinary Clinical Trials Office. (You can download this information as a PDF file on the right upper corner).

What do children and dogs with bone tumors have in common?

Dogs and children share more than messy hair and boundless energy.

Dog Golden Retriever and girl laying down

  • Osteosarcoma (OSA) is the most common primary bone tumor in both kids and dogs.
  • OSA in kids and dogs is genetically and clinically almost identical.
  • Discoveries made in dogs with OSA help improve knowledge and treatments in children with cancer.
  • OSA is 10 times more common in dogs than in children, which makes it easier and faster to study in dogs.

What can my dog and I do to help?

Clinical Trials

Your veterinary oncologist at the Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) will work with you to find the best treatment for your dog, including the option of participating in one of the current clinical trials.  Whether you decide to participate in a clinical trial or not, your pet will get the best care possible.

The specifics of each trial are different, and your veterinary oncologist will explain those details. Some clinical trials may involve a few extra steps beyond standard treatment, such as blood draws or a new medication. Nevertheless, these steps will not cause you or your dog any inconvenience.

What are the benefits of clinical trials?

Many clinical trials offer to offset the cost of some treatments. This may include covering chemotherapy, blood work or other costs.

In addition, some clinical trials involve studying new drugs or treatments that could treat OSA more effectively, which may help your pet directly.

Tissue Donation

A very important part of studying cancer is collecting pieces of tumor tissue for research. These samples are incredibly valuable to researchers working to propel groundbreaking advances. Tissues allow researchers to study how cancer develops, how it responds to treatment, and how it metastasizes (spreads). Ultimately, research using tissue donations brings hope for a brighter future where treatments for children and dogs are more effective, and kids and dogs will live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

How does tissue donation work?

Patients can donate tissue when having surgery to remove the cancer, or at the time of death.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, OSA will eventually spread to the lungs. When this occurs, the disease becomes very resistant to therapy, and quality of life declines, making many people decide it is time for euthanasia.

The logistics of euthanasia are complicated and take place at a stressful and emotional time. However, some owners, through a very generous and important act, may find comfort in knowing their pet could help advance science by donating tissue for research shortly after euthanasia.

To understand relapse and response to therapy, it is important for researchers to study both primary (first) and metastatic (spread) tumors from the same patient.

Because tissues are so fragile, they need to be collected at the VMC very soon after surgery, or shortly after euthanasia.

There is no fee for euthanasia if owners decide to donate tissue to the repository bank at the VMC. Please speak with your veterinary oncologist if you are interested in donating cancer tissue.


For a list of current clinical trials click here