Drug tested at CSU promises new hope for dogs with a common type of cancer

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Photo: ThinkStock)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Researchers at Colorado State University helped prove the usefulness of a drug that will now be used to treat dogs with a common type of cancer.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that the lymphoma drug, Tanovea-CA1, is approved for use in canine patients and will be available to veterinarians nationwide this spring, according to a statement posted on CSU’s website.

Researchers say the drug promises new hope for dogs with this type of cancer.

“Across the board, we saw some positive activity in up to 80 percent of all the lymphoma patients that were treated with this medication,” the university quoted a lead researcher as saying.

Dr. Doug Thamm examines Jake, a labrador that is taking part in the Tanovea clinical trials at the Flint Animal Cancer Center at CSU. (Photo: John Eisele/CSU Photography)

The treatment schedule is also much less intensive than chemotherapy.

“Doses of the drug are given every three weeks, with a total of five infusions,” officials explained. “That compares to conventional chemotherapy treatments that require up to 16 weekly visits.”

One patient to benefit from the new treatment is Dane, a golden retriever from Denver.

Dane the golden retriever

“Just five months ago, his owners thought the 9-year-old golden, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, would have to be euthanized because he could no longer stand and wouldn’t eat or drink,” officials wrote.

“We wanted to throw what we could at this cancer and get as much time with Dane as we possibly could,” Dane’s owner, Christine Loeffler, was quoted as saying. “We were not ready to call it quits on him yet. He’s still happy, has a zest for life, and he loves his family as much as we love him. We wanted to do whatever we could.”

Researchers said “the dog that couldn’t stand just a few months earlier was wagging his tail” during his fifth and final Tanovea treatment.

“It was all that we could hope for,” officials quoted Loeffler as saying. “The old Dane is mostly back. He loves his walks, he loves his neighborhood… He’s excited when we all wake up in the morning.”

Veterinarians with the Flint Animal Cancer Center were key advisers as the Fort Collins-based company VetDC refined the drug, the university stated.

“Cancer is the leading cause of death in older pets, and veterinarians estimate that one in four dogs will develop cancer.  Lymphoma is among the most common forms of cancer in pets,” university officials stated.

The clinical trials are open for dogs with cancer derived from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. This includes multiple myeloma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.