The University of Missouri Veterinary Health Center is recruiting dogs with cancer for a new clinical trial that is being conducted in partnership with the National Cancer Institute. At present, MU is the only location in the country where the trial is under way.
“While we can screen dogs with almost any kind of cancer to determine if they qualify for the trial, we are particularly interested in dogs with lymphoma or multiple myeloma,” said VHC Assistant Professor of Veterinary Oncology Brian Flesner, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology). Dogs with mast cell tumors or hemangiosarcoma cannot be enrolled in the trial.
Flesner said he hopes to enroll between 12 and 18 dogs in the trial, which will assess the safety and effectiveness of a novel anticancer agent, CB-5339.
“What is exciting about this study is based on the data we are able to gather, the National Cancer Institute hopes to expand it in the future to trials for people with cancer,” Flesner said. “By treating dogs with cancer, we may be able to develop an additional weapon in the arsenal of therapies that fight cancer in people.”
Leidos Biomedical Research, the operations and technical support contractor for the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, is sponsoring the study.
Flesner cautioned that it is currently unknown whether there is any benefit from the treatment and that toxicity is possible. Prior to enrollment, dogs must have a confirmed diagnosis of cancer and undergo staging tests to ensure their general health and to evaluate how advanced each dog’s disease is before treatment.
As part of the study, Flesner and his team will collect a series of blood samples and biopsies from each participant’s tumor. The biopsies will take place under local or general anesthesia. Participating dogs will return to the VHC several times during the study. The pets’ owners will also have to administer doses of CB-5339 at home on several occasions.
Most costs associated with this study will be covered by the sponsor. In the event complications arise from the drug’s administration, treatment of the issues, including any hospitalizations, will be covered by study funds up to $1,000 per dog. Additionally, a $1,000 gift toward additional treatment for the dogs’ cancer at the MU VHC will be provided after completion of the study. Dogs that benefit from the drug may be able to continue receiving CB-5339 on a compassionate use basis.
Flesner said he is also still recruiting dogs with treatment naïve, stage III-IV B cell lymphomas for a separate study. Sponsored by Puppy Up, the second study uses a known effective chemotherapy agent, doxorubicin, and evaluates the safety and effectiveness of agents that modify gene expression when used prior to standard chemotherapy. Once dogs are enrolled, the study is fully funded.
For questions about these studies or other cancer clinical trials at MU, contact the VHC Oncology Service at 573-882-7821 or Brian Flesner, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology) at firstname.lastname@example.org.