Successful cancer treatment in dogs could help humans - KCTV5 News

Successful cancer treatment in dogs could help humans

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The University of Missouri and The University of Kansas are teaming to fight cancer and dogs and possibly one day humans. (KCTV5) The University of Missouri and The University of Kansas are teaming to fight cancer and dogs and possibly one day humans. (KCTV5)

It didn’t take long for Maris, a high energy golden lab in Jefferson City, to become part of Michael and Maria Bish’s family.  Maris runs around her yard, playing catch with Michael Bish as if she’s a puppy.

It’s hard to believe three years ago the Bish family was having to make a very difficult decision.

A tumor was growing in Maris’ mouth and initially, the family didn’t have many options.

Maris could have potentially lost the bottom part of her jaw and possibly be euthanized. But, a small glimmer of hope appeared with a new suggestion.

“They asked us if we would like to do this experimental treatment,” says Maria Bish. 

A veterinarian pointed the Bishes to an injectable chemotherapy treatment at the University of Missouri.

The concept was developed 175 miles west at the University of Kansas Hospital.

“We think this really could be a game changer,” says Dr. Daniel Aires, the Director of Dermatology at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Aires has been perfecting the treatment for the past five years.

“It is a targeted way of delivering chemo to cancers, instead of just putting it in the vein and hoping some if it gets where we want into the cancer,” explains Dr. Aires. “This technology enables delivery right to the cancer.”

So far, it’s been used in seven dogs.

Three dogs showed complete responses, which means their cancer is gone. Four showed partial responses, meaning their tumors shrank and stabilized.

It eradicated Maris’ tumor. She’s been cancer free for three human years, 21 dog years.

Dr. Jeffrey Bryan is working on the University of Missouri’s part of the clinical trial. He’s a board certified specialist in veterinary oncology.

“It is absolutely huge,” says Bryan. “It’s exciting because we’re helping these dogs.”

Bryan is excited for what the trial’s success means for the future. It won’t just help dogs but their owners as well.

“As we understand what contributes to this in our dogs, we can more rapidly apply that to people,” says Bryan. “This literally is helping both ends of the leash.”

Aires agrees, the results are promising for men and women who will have to battle cancer down the road.

“Within the next couple of years, we’d like to see the first couple trials in humans,” says Aires.

Maris’ owners are excited to be a part of this ground breaking treatment.

“Maybe they’re on to something here,” says Michael. “I hope they are.”

The trial is still accepting patients. If you think your dog could be a candidate, call 913-588-3840 or 573-882-7821.

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