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University of Minnesota develops cancer drug that helps dogs with hemangiosarcoma

The results from the trial not only benefits dogs with this particular form of cancer, but may be applicable to humans too

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The University of Minnesota has announced the breakthrough trial of a new drug that improves survival rates in dogs diagnosed with a cancer called hemangiosarcoma (HSA). The research and results were published recently published in the journal of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

“This is likely the most significant advance in the treatment of canine HSA in the last three decades,” said study co-author Jaime Modiano, V.M.D., Ph.D. professor in the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and member of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.

Canine HSA is a common, aggressive, incurable sarcoma, and is remarkably similar to angiosarcoma, which affects humans. Both cancers typically spread before diagnosis and the survival time for affected patients is extremely short, even with aggressive treatment. Only 50 percent of humans diagnosed with angiosarcoma live longer than 16 months; the prognosis for dogs with HSA is similarly dire. Less than 50 percent of dogs will survive 4 to 6 months and only about 10 percent will be alive one year after their diagnosis.

The study tested a drug called eBAT, invented by study senior author Daniel Vallera, Ph.D., professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Masonic Cancer Center.

“eBAT was created to specifically target tumors while causing minimal damage to the immune system. HSA is a vascular cancer, meaning it forms from blood vessels. eBAT was selected for this trial because it can simultaneously target the tumor and its vascular system,” Vallera said.

Traditional cancer treatments have side effects that can be very hard on patients. “In this trial we aimed for a sweet spot by identifying a dose of eBAT that was effective to treat the cancer, but caused no appreciable harm to the patient. Essentially we’re treating the cancer in a safer and more effective way, improving quality of life and providing a better chance at survival,” lead study author Antonella Borgatti, D.V.M., M.S., associate professor with the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine said.

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eBAT was tested on 23 dogs of various breeds, both large and small, with HSA of the spleen. Dogs received three treatments of eBAT after surgery to remove the tumor and before conventional chemotherapy. The drug treatment improved the 6-month survival rate to approximately 70 percent Furthermore, five of the 23 dogs that received eBAT treatment lived more than 450 days.

Not only is that good news for dogs, it’s good news for people too. The similarities between this cancer and angiosarcoma in humans, and the fact that many other tumor types can be targeted by eBAT, make a strong case for translating this drug into clinical trials for human cancer patients. The researchers want these results to bring hope to those touched by this disease.

“This drug was invented here at the University of Minnesota, developed here, manufactured here, tested here and showed positive results here. We would also like this drug to achieve positive outcomes for humans here,” Modiano said.

“The ultimate goal for all of us is to create a world in which we no longer fear cancer,” he added.

25 thoughts on “University of Minnesota develops cancer drug that helps dogs with hemangiosarcoma

  1. I am so proud that my GS Pointer Sophie may have helped in this break through. After she passed, samples were sent to Dr Modiano.

    1. Please let us know how to get this treatment. My 3 year old gsp was diagnosed in February, 2019 and we will have our 5th doxorubicin chem treatment next week. Her tumor was on her side.

    1. My dog was diagnosed and passed from HSA 2 years ago. I treated her with both THC/CBD oils. She also received chemo. The professionals at WSU were surprised by how many of her tumors went away. Obviously not all did as she passed about 4 weeks after her last chemo treatment. I believe that you should use any and all resources out there! I tell everyone to use TCH and CBD oils!

  2. I know of several dogs who suddenly succumbed to this terrible cancer. A significant part of the problem with hemangioma sarcoma seems to be getting it diagnosed with enough time to employ any treatment. Does research also identify earlier symptoms and how to get to a diagnosis sooner? Until earlier diagnosis is addressed a new drug is not as useful as it seems.

  3. I’m very happy to hear of the progress and positive results that you have had with eBat. Hopefully, it will come to market in the near future.
    My 12 year old Border collie/Aussie mix was diagnosed with HSA in May of 2017. She is still with us in April of 2018. The tumor, which was bleeding into her abdomen, was removed along with her spleen. After discussion with a canine oncologist, we opted to forego chemotherapy. We have been giving her I’m-Yunity and prescription LDN. We went to a homeopathic Vet to receive the script. Our hope is that she continues to do well and is one of the 10 percenters, who live years beyond her diagnosis.

    1. Kathy,
      My 9 year old Pitbull was just diagnosed with HSA a week ago. We are starting him on I’m-Yunity this week but I’m curious what is LDN? Wonderful news about your girl! I pray we can be as lucky as you in this battle!

    2. My last boxer had HSA and I started him on raw (remove preservatives and sugars found in kibble), K9 Immunity from Aloha Medicinals (mushroom therapy) and drops from my naturopath that restored oxygen to his blood. They gave him 45 days post surgery of removing an 8 lb tumour and his spleen. After 18 months I believed he couldn’t possibility have cancer anymore so I stopped the K9 Immunity. His cancer came back on his liver. They have now found breakthroughs in humans and dogs that boosting the immune system really helps. So never stop the mushroom therapy!! Hopefully one day HSA in dogs will be a thing of the past!

  4. Our 9 year old pitbull, Cooper, was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma in September 2018 and died just two weeks later, even after blood transfusion and splenectomy! We are utterly heartbroken. I had ordered the k9 immunity suplements; Yunnan Baiyao Chinese herbs for bleeding; and the I’m-Yunity used in the Penn state study (turkey tail mushrooms). None got to us in time :(( So we have $550 in supplements we cannot return…. If interested in the I’m-Yunity at a bargain (unopened), text me at 5402391530. We live in Myrtle Beach, SC.

  5. When will this drug be available for public? My girl was diagnosed with a mass on her right atrium. This past week has been touch-&-go but Jan 2, 2019 will be her 12 week post diagnosis. The vet gave her 12-16 weeks after her pericardial window surgery. Anxious for an answer as I’ve tried a lot of all-natural supplements. Thank you!

  6. Hello Dr. Jaime Modiano,
    Eli, my daughter’s 6 year old Redbone Coon Hound was diagnosed on 121/28/18 with leaky spleen mass and immediately operated in a VCA emergency hospital after being lethargic for about a week. He seems healthy now but we know that hemangiosarcoma is terminal. My devastated daughter asks if it would it be possible to bring Eli to you in MN for treatment with eBAT as part of a study.
    Thanks – Professor Alfred Gerteiny

    1. Hi, Alfred,

      I don’t know if you already enrolled your dog in the University of Minnesota’s HSA clinical trial for eBat, but they are currently still enrolling dogs. Please go to their website!!!

  7. I am so happy to read about this. We elected to put our Scruffi down some 13 years ago when we discovered he had hemangiosarcoma on the spleen and that it had metastasized already. The tumour came up very quickly. We went in to remove it, but when we saw how it had spread, we elected for euthanasia. I have never gotten over his death although I breed dogs and have his great-grandson. Scruffi was taken from us too early.

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