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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.

15 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.

  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!

  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.

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