Archive for the ‘Cancer Research’ Category

National Canine Cancer Foundation to fund a new innovative Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) Research Project

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

I have some new exciting news. As you all know we are always trying to find an new edge in the battle against canine cancer. And Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) is one of those cancers we would like to get a better handle on since it seems to end up being diagnosed too late to save the dog. In fact, we are so keen on finding out how to deal with HSA that we have actually initiated our own research project on HSA with G. Elizabeth Pluhar, D.V.M., Ph.D., and John Ohlfest, Ph.D. This is very exciting for the NCCF because this type of research on HSA has never been tried. Let me tell you how it all came about by first talking about a dog name Batman.

Batman was the first dog to undergo a breakthrough experimental treatment for brain cancer, led by doctors, G. Elizabeth Pluhar, D.V.M., Ph.D., and John Ohlfest, Ph.D. They developed a combination treatment plan for dogs with glioma, a very aggressive and relatively common form of brain cancer. First they removed the tumor surgically. Then, in some cases, they use local gene therapy to attract immune cells to destroy remaining tumor cells, and finally they created a personalized anti-cancer vaccine made from the dog’s own cancer cells to prevent tumor recurrence.

I personally love the thought of taking a cancer that was killing a dog and turning it into a personalized vaccine to kill the cancer!

Dr. Pluhar, a surgeon at the Veterinary Medical Center, and Dr. Ohlfest, head of the neurosurgery gene therapy program at the Masonic Cancer Center, gave Batman his initial treatment in August 2008. Batman led a normal life unaffected by his tumor until his death from cardiac failure in February 2010, there was no tumor recurrence. According to the Dean of the College, Trevor Ames, DVM, MS, “the far-reaching implications of this promising new treatment are almost difficult to fathom; not only could these treatments lead to a cure for brain and other systemic cancers in dogs, but because dogs and humans share many physiological traits, dogs could also be the missing link in the cure for brain cancer in humans.”

Then something interesting happened. Almost one year ago, Davis Hawn’s then 8-year-old yellow lab, Booster, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in his nasal sinus. Booster was given three weeks to live. Hawn did not want to accept the death sentence and began searching the country for a cure. His search led him to doctors in Florida who removed Booster’s tumor and gave him chemo. An online search then led him to Dr. Elizabeth Pluhar from the University of Minnesota’s canine brain tumor clinical program. Davis asked her to help his dog, but Dr. Pluhar had never made a vaccine for this type of cancer before. But Davis was not going to take no for an answer so she did agree to try. She shipped the vaccine off and ten months later Booster is cancer free.

Then after Davis contacted the NCCF to tell us about how well the vaccine works, we contacted Dr. Pluhar to ask if she would be willing to try the same research that was successful with brain cancer and skin cancer, and use the same protocol to try dealing with splenic HSA. The NCCF’s thinking is that with all these other cancers, the similarities were that the cancer had to be removed and a vaccine needed to be created from the cancer cells. With splenic HSA, one of the more common forms of HSA, the spleen is typically removed so we felt that Dr. Pluhar’s research could possibly work. With that in mind, we asked her if she could try and apply her protocol on splenic HSA. After doing some initial research she agreed to do the study based on reaching certain goals before going on to the next level.

First, she needs to insure that we can culture the cancer cells in the lab,

Second, she needs to insure that the tumor vaccines stimulate immune cells to attack tumor cells. If she can achieve these two steps she can go on to treat the HSA cancer. We could not be happier and are guardedly optimistic over this research project.

The cost for this project will be $55,500. I hope you are all as excited as we are about this research and will help fund the project. If you want to help with funding this new innovative NCCF’s initiated project please CLICK HERE or got to this link

http://wearethecure.org/giving/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=70

Thank you

Gary D. Nice
President and Founder
National Canine Cancer Foundation

Groundbreaking study aims to unravel canine cancer mystery

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

It’s estimated one in three dogs will get cancer in its lifetime, according to the Canine Cancer Foundation. But veterinarians say the percentage can be even higher in some breeds, like Golden Retrievers. Experts are hoping to change that, and possibly uncover clues about cancer in humans, too.

Lisa DeBurle and her husband are raising their third Golden Retriever, named Luna. They know the odds are against them.

“With two-thirds of Goldens dying from cancer, there’s a very good chance we’ll lose her to that,” DeBurle said.

Cancer claimed the couple’s first two Golden Retrievers, Sasha and Riley, only years apart. DeBurle says she agonized over getting Luna.

“We don’t have kids,” DeBurle said. “The dogs were our family.”

In the end, they decided to try again. Only this time, the couple also wanted to help others.

On the advice of Green Lake veterinarian Dr. Jeb Mortimer, Luna was enrolled in the Morris Animal Foundation’s “Canine Lifetime Health Project,” based in Denver.

“It’s mega-data,” Dr. Mortimer said. “They’re basically trying to figure out environmental trends, genetic trends, and why this breed is faced with these diseases.”

The project is a first-of-its kind, intensive, long-term study of Golden Retrievers. The study will run up to 14 years, and needs 3,000 pure-bred Golden Retrievers. As of mid-November, there was space for 750 more.

Paperwork is heaviest for participating veterinarians like Dr. Mortimer. Information on each of Luna’s visits is documented and shared with the study. Her DNA is on file, and her blood drawn and tested at annual wellness visits.

“There’s a lot of monitoring and documentation, just to make sure it’s a true scientific study,” Dr. Mortimer said.

It’s a commitment for DeBurle, as well. She must ensure Luna is seen regularly for the rest of her life, and largely at her own expense. The study reimburses participants $75 a year to offset the cost of the annual checkup.

But the payoff could be big, and not just for Luna or Golden Retrievers.

“They’re hoping to use this [to understand] cancer in all dogs,” DeBurle said. “And then they have an even bigger dream of it effecting cancer research for humans.”

“The canine model has always been there for human health,” Dr. Mortimer said. “There are a lot of similarities, and we could learn a lot from each other.”

Article reposted from:
http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Groundbreaking-study-aims-to-unravel-cancer-mystery-283375631.html
By Cayle Thompson

Scorpion Venom Can Help Save the Lives of Dogs with Cancer

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Not only can scorpion venom make us sick, but one forward whip of the creature’s tail delivers a sting that strikes like flame.

How ironic, then, that venom from a scorpion species known as the deathstalker is credited with prolonging the lives of a group of dogs, including three named Whiskey, Hot Rod and Browning.

At Washington State University, clinical trials of “tumor paint,” a product that lights up cancer cells, are proving beneficial in treating canines.

The re-engineered molecule found in the venom of the deathstalker scorpion latches onto malignant tumors, making the diseased tissue glow brightly and distinctly against normal tissues. Consequently, surgeons are better able to detect – and remove – cancerous cells while leaving healthy ones behind.

Saved a leg

Phase 1 of the trials involved administering tumor paint intravenously to 28 canine cancer patients prior to surgery, said William Dernell, professor and chair of WSU’s veterinary clinical sciences.

“These were people’s pets that had developed cancer spontaneously, not in a lab,” he said.

One of those pets was Browning, a then-10-year-old chocolate Lab who underwent surgery at WSU’s veterinary hospital to remove a large sarcoma on her leg. Using tumor paint and an infrared camera, the surgery team was able to remove the cancerous cells that glowed bright green – thereby sparing the leg from amputation, said Dernell, who oversees the clinical trials.

Browning, left, has returned to hunting, while Whiskey is chasing scorpions. (Photos by Valorie Wiss, WSU veterinary clinical sciences)

Browning, a hunting dog who lives with her owners in Spokane, was able to return to her outdoor activities.

“The fluorescent substance prefers tumor cells over normal cells, allowing us to define the borders of where a tumor begins and where it ends,” Dernell said. “We’re always hearing about some new compound that targets tumors. From what we’ve seen, this one really does.”

People, too

Pediatric oncologist Jim Olson developed and patented tumor paint at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as a way to help people, but also the pets they love, he said.

“Many animal tumors resemble those that arise in humans so it only makes sense for the two groups to reap the benefits that tumor paint can provide during cancer surgery,” he explained. “As WSU uses the technology to help dogs, the dogs provide information that’s applicable to human cancers.”

Four years ago, Olson launched the Seattle-based company Blaze Bioscience as a way to test and commercialize the technology. Not long afterward, he contacted Dernell about conducting clinical trials at WSU. The results were so promising that the second phase will include enrolled feline patients as well, said Dernell.

If that seems an impressive achievement for a compound whose main ingredient is found in the venomous stinger of a scorpion, then consider this: In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved tumor paint for study in human trials. The product will be used on an estimated 21 people diagnosed with brain or spine tumors, said Olson.

“I predict that in a decade or so, surgeons will look back and say, ‘I can’t believe we used to remove tumors by only using our eyes, fingers and experience,’” he said. “Those hidden deposits of 200 or so cancer cells? They won’t go undetected.”

Scorpions’ new admirers

They didn’t go undetected in Hot Rod, a 10-year-old pit-bull mix who had skin cancer nodules removed at WSU, or Whiskey, another pit-bull mix who underwent surgery for two large mammary carcinonomas nearly two years ago.

Whiskey remains cancer free, said owner Terry Dillon, who decided to enroll her in the clinical trials after he learned of her diagnosis.

“I was afraid I’d have to have her euthanized, but then they told me about this tumor paint and how it might increase the odds of getting all the cancer out. I said yes, absolutely yes, I’ll sign her up.”

Hot Rod poses with WSU veterinary surgeon William Dernell, who oversees the tumor paint clinical trials.

Dillon recently moved to Arizona to care for his aging mother. Whiskey, his caramel-colored dog with deep brown eyes, went with him. As if scorpion venom helping to prolong her life isn’t peculiar enough, now there’s another unusual twist to this story.

Under starlight in Dillon’s desert-landscape backyard, Whiskey chases and pounces on scorpions.

“I’ve even seen her draw them into her mouth. I don’t know how in the world she does it,” he said. “Or why.”

Article reposted from:
https://news.wsu.edu/2014/12/10/scorpion-derived-tumor-paint-helps-dogs-at-wsu
By Linda Weiford, WSU News

Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Older dogs and cats are at high risk for developing cancer. In fact, estimates reveal that as many as 50% of pets die because of the disease. Early diagnosis is essential to effectively managing or curing cancer, so it is important that owners be aware of the common signs of the disease and understand some basic facts about cancer in dogs and cats.

Types of Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Cancer is usually classified in one of two ways:

  • By the organ that it affects – liver cancer, brain tumor, skin cancer, etc.
  • By the type of cell involved – hemangiosarcoma (a cancer of blood vessels), mast cell tumor, adenocarcinoma, etc.

Usually, both classifications are necessary to fully understand a pet’s condition because different types of cancer can affect the same organ yet have dissimilar clinical signs, prognoses, and treatment protocols. For example, two types of skin cancer may look different, be treated differently, and tend to have different outcomes.

Symptoms of Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Because there are so many different types of cancer, no one clinical sign is unique to the disease. Nevertheless, if a dog or cat develops any of the following symptoms, cancer is certainly a possibility, and the pet should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible:

  • Abnormal masses – Some types of cancer form discrete tumors or cause organ enlargement (e.g., lymph nodes) that can be seen or felt. Often, these masses will grow or change over time.
  • Persistent sores – Cancer affecting the skin or mucous membranes can look like a wound, but the lesion does not heal in a typical manner.
  • Weight loss and poor appetite – Cancer requires energy and other nutrients, which takes away from what is available to the rest of a pet’s body. Also, pets with cancer generally don’t feel good and may not eat as well as they normally do. Weight loss associated with cancer frequently involves both fat and muscle tissue.
  • Poor coat quality – Cancer can cause pets to stop grooming themselves and/or grow dry and brittle fur.
  • Unexplained bleeding or discharge – Cancer may cause blood vessels to rupture or be associated with secondary infections resulting in abnormal discharge from the mouth, nose, anus, genitals, or other body openings.
  • Abnormal odors – Cancer disrupts the body’s normal protective mechanisms that keep infection at bay, and most infections are associated with a foul odor.
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing – Cancer of the oral cavity or esophagus can make eating and swallowing difficult and/or painful.
  • Lethargy, weakness, or exercise intolerance – Cancer can make pets anemic (have low red blood cell counts), decrease energy levels, and adversely affect the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, pulmonary, nervous, and other body systems making animals unwilling or unable to be as active as normal.
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness – Cancer of the musculoskeletal or nervous system can adversely affect a pet’s gait.
  • Difficulty breathing and/or coughing – Cancer affecting the cardiovascular system or lungs often causes dogs and cats to cough and breathe rapidly or with greater effort than is normal.
  • Abnormal urination – Cancer of the urinary tract and other body systems can cause pets to strain to urinate, urinate a greater or lesser volume than normal, urinate more or less frequently than normal, or have blood in their urine.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea – Cancer can directly involve the gastrointestinal tract or alter the functioning of other organ systems resulting in an adverse effect on the gastrointestinal tract. In either case, pets may vomit and/or have diarrhea.
  • Constipation – Tumors that block the lower gastrointestinal track can cause pets to strain or be unable to defecate.
  • Chronic sneezing – Tumors of the nasal passages typically make dogs and cats to sneeze.
  • An enlargement or swelling of any body part – Tumors or abnormal fluid accumulations (e.g., blood in the abdomen) that develop as a result of cancer can cause parts of the body to enlarge.
  • Behavioral changes – Unexplained aggression, altered mentation, or other abnormal behaviors can be caused by a tumor in or around the brain, altered body chemistry caused by cancer elsewhere in the body, or pain.
  • Paleness or yellowing of the mucous membranes or skin – Cancer that results in bleeding, abnormal red blood cell destruction, poor red blood cell production, or liver disease can result in anemia or jaundice.

In most cases, pets with cancer will have more than one of the aforementioned symptoms. For example, a dog that is losing weight, is lethargic, is straining to urinate, and has blood in its urine is more likely to have cancer than is a dog that only has blood in its urine.

Diagnosing Cancer in Dogs and Cats

To definitively determine that cancer is responsible for a pet’s clinical signs and identify the type that is involved, a veterinarian will take a tissue sample from the abnormal area, either via a needle and syringe or through a surgical biopsy. Sometimes, the veterinarian can reach a diagnosis by looking at cells under the microscope in the clinic, but it is usually best to send the sample to a veterinary pathologist for a complete evaluation. Additional diagnostic tests including blood work, a urinalysis, x-rays, and ultrasounds may be necessary to rule out other diseases, find the cancer, determine how widespread or advanced the disease is, and plan appropriate treatment.

Treating Cancer in Dogs and Cats

In most cases, cancer can be successfully managed for a period of time and potentially even cured if it is caught early enough. Treatment options aimed directly against cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Symptomatic treatment is also important and can include pain control, nutritional intervention, antibiotics, anti-nausea medications, and more. A pet’s primary care veterinarian and/or a veterinary cancer specialist will design a treatment protocol specific to the patient’s condition and the owner’s wishes.

Article reposted from:
https://www.vetdepot.com/signs-of-cancer-in-dogs-and-cats.html
Image source: www.vetdepot.com

Researchers Treat Canine Cancer, Likely to Advance Human Health

Friday, October 31st, 2014

A research team at Mississippi State’s College of Veterinary Medicine is working to better understand cancer in dogs, and the work also could advance knowledge of human cancer.

Their investigation began with only a tiny blood platelet, but quickly they discovered opportunities for growth and expanding the breadth of the research.

Chelsea McIntosh takes a blood sample from a patient with assistance from Sandra Bulla and Dr. Kari Lunsford. Scientists at Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine are studying the role of platelets in diagnosing canine cancer. (Photo by MSU College of Veterinary Medicine/Tom Thompson)

“We have a lot to gain by looking at platelets and how they influence cancer and healing,” said Dr. Camillo Bulla. “A part of our research is looking at the platelet. The platelet is very small, but it gives us a large picture. We hope to be able to find a tumor much sooner by taking a series of blood samples to look at platelet contents.”

Bulla is an associate professor in the college’s pathobiology and population medicine department. He and Dr. Kari Lunsford, a colleague at the college, have formed the Comparative Angiogenesis Laboratory at the university to better understand this process and treat canine patients.

As he explained, cancers need the creation of new blood vessels, called angiogenesis, to survive and grow, and tumors are able to create new blood vessels as pathways to travel and spread. They also are looking at the way platelets interact with tumor cells as they attempt to spread to the area surrounding the tumor or metastasize to distant sites in the body.

Lunsford, an associate professor in the clinical sciences department, said, “We know that metastasizing tumor cells need platelets but it is not yet known what the platelets do for the migrating (metastasizing) tumor. This is one of the questions we hope to help answer.”

Lunsford said she and Bulla foresee a specific focus on patients undergoing cancer treatment.

“If treatments are successful and the cancer goes into remission, we would monitor the patient for a relapse of the disease by looking at its platelets,” Lunsford said. “This type of monitoring would be less invasive than taking biopsies and might also be an earlier indicator that the cancer is returning.”

According to Lunsford, platelets also carry information about tumors and metastasizing cancer cells, and the team hopes that by looking at specific proteins expressed in platelets (from a simple blood sample), they can identify new cancer earlier. Even more importantly, they want to identify when tumors are about to metastasize.

“Our lab has developed a new way to separate platelets from blood samples with far less contamination by other blood cells,” she said. “This new technique was developed by doctoral student Shauna Trichler, and is superior to any isolation technique previously used by researchers in human or veterinary medicine.”

Trichler, of West Linden, Tennessee, is in her first year of work on a doctor of veterinary medicine degree, as well as a doctor of philosophy degree in veterinary medical science.

Lunsford said the research “is already having an impact as researchers from around the country are contacting our lab for advice relating to platelet purification.” Development of the pure samples have enabled the MSU research team to become the first to characterize the canine platelet proteome, the full complement of proteins expressed in the platelet.

“Now that we know what the normal, healthy platelet contains, we can compare it to platelets from patients with cancer to identify which proteins might play a role in cancer metastasis,” Lunsford said. “These changes in platelet proteins may also one day be used as a simple blood test for the early detection of cancer or cancer metastasis.”

Bulla and Lunsford, along with their postdoctoral students, recently attended a special biomedical course at the Harvard Medical School. Only open to a select group of applicants, the visit provided the MSU researchers more opportunities to collaborate and further their studies.

“We really feel like we’ve stumbled into something with the role of the platelet in cancer progression,” Lunsford said. “Being with so many respected, experienced members of the biomedical field really helped us hone in more on what we want to find out about controlling cancer in animals and humans.

“This was an exceptional opportunity,” she continued. “One of the most impressive parts of the course is meeting one of the leaders in brain cancer research, Dr. Isaiah Fidler. While many of the course leaders have their Ph.D.’s and M.D.’s, Dr. Fidler has a veterinary degree.”

Based on what they learned at Harvard and their own work at MSU, the researchers said they feel there is a clear link between the disease in animals and humans. Their efforts also are part of the One Health Initiative, a current worldwide program to expand interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and the environment.

“That a DVM is part of leading the charge in brain tumor research helps reinforce and in some ways validate what we are doing here,” Lunsford said. “There is so much overlap in veterinary and human medical research. I’m so glad to have had the opportunity at the Harvard course. It has helped make our direction even more clear.”

Following their return from Harvard, Lunsford, Bulla and other team members began working to secure funding grants that will enable them to expand their research.

“In the hospital we often see patients who may have had tumors for long periods of time, tumors that were previously undiagnosed and did not present any problems,” Lunsford said. “When cancers metastasize and spread is when they become life threatening and debilitating. We want to better understand how to diagnose and control those initial tumors and eliminate the risk of metastasis.

“As veterinarians, we are focused on treating cancer in dogs and we get the bonus of also helping advance treatment of human cancers,” she observed.

Article reposted from:
http://newswise.com/articles/researchers-treat-canine-cancer-likely-to-advance-human-health

Scientists discover cancer fighting berry

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Scientists have been surprised by the rapid cancer fighting properties of a berry found only in Far North Queensland.

An eight-year study led by Dr Glen Boyle, from the QIMR Berghofer medical research institute in Brisbane, found a compound in the berry could kill head and neck tumors as well as melanomas.

An experimental drug derived from the berry, EBC-46, has so far been used on 300 animals, including cats, dogs and horses.

(A dog called Oscar pre-treatment with the berry compound (L) and 15 days after treatment (R). Supplied: QIMR Berghofer Medical Institute)

Dr Boyle said in 75 per cent of cases, the tumor disappeared and had not come back.

“There’s a compound in the seed – it’s a very, very complicated process to purify this compound and why it’s there in the first place, we don’t know,” he said.

“The compound works by three ways essentially: it kills the tumor cells directly, it cuts off the blood supply and it also activates the body’s own immune system to clean up the mess that’s left behind.”

There were no side effects, but what amazed scientists most was how fast it worked: the drug took effect within five minutes and tumors disappeared within days.

“The surprising thing for us and the thing that we don’t see very often is the speed with which this occurs,” Dr Boyle said.

“Usually when you treat a tumor it takes several weeks for it to resolve, but this is very, very rapid.

“There’s a purpling of the area, of the tumor itself, and you see that within five minutes and you come back the next day and the tumor’s black and you come back a few days later and the tumor’s fallen off.”

(The EBC-46 drug was derived from a berry that grows on the blushwood tree.)

The berry grows on the blushwood tree, which only grows in pockets of Far North Queensland.

“The tree is very, very picky on where it will grow,” Dr Boyle said.

“It’s only on the Atherton Tablelands at the moment and they’re trying to expand that to different places of course because it’d be nice to be able to grow it on a farm somewhere.

Dr Boyle said the findings of the pre-clinical trials suggested the drug could be effective in human patients.

But Dr Boyle warned the drug could only be used for tumors that can be accessed by direct injection and was not effective against metastatic cancers.

He said it would be an additional treatment option, rather than a replacement for chemotherapy or surgery.

“Elderly patients for example who just can’t go through another round of chemo or can’t go through another general anaesthetic for example, this could be used to treat those sorts of tumors and hopefully improve quality of life for people,” he said.

Biotechnology company QBiotics has obtained ethical approval to begin human trials.

News reposted from:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-07/queensland-scientists-discover-cancer-fighting-berry/5796106

Written by: Jessica van Vonderen

Hemangiosarcoma is more common in dogs than in other species

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Some people fear heights, spiders or snakes. When it comes to dogs, I fear Hemangiosarcoma because they are such hidden and deadly cancers. Last week my worst fear became reality, when out of the blue; my 11-year-old athletic Afghan “Halle” was diagnosed with this insidious, terminal disease.

Hemangiosarcoma is more common in dogs than in other species, and affects mostly middle-aged to older animals. Some breeds such as German Shepherds, Golden and Labrador Retrievers and Portuguese Water Dogs are more susceptible, suggesting a genetic predisposition. Scientists really don’t know what causes this form of cancer nor are there diagnostic tests to discover the disorder early enough to stop it in its tracks.

Image Credit: Joel Mills

Canine hemangiosarcoma is an intractable disease with no warning signs and no effective treatments. It is a type of cancer that begins in the cells that line blood vessels. Tumors usually develop in the spleen, heart or liver, although they can also been found in the skin, bone, kidney, brain and other locations. Hemangiosarcoma is almost always malignant, and tends to develop slowly, but spread rapidly, so that clinical signs are often not noticeable until the tumors have metastasized and/or ruptured, causing acute shock and collapse.

Sometimes the diagnosis is not even on the veterinary radar screen until after the dog’s demise. A friend’s eight-year -old female Golden Retriever seemed fine. Moments after guests left her husband’s birthday barbecue, the dog walked down the hall and died. One of our Afghan rescues, same age as the Golden, was in a foster home after her NYC owner passed away. Soon after her caretaker figured out that she was a show champion missing several years, the beautiful dog expired at the emergency hospital on Thanksgiving eve.

Last week Halle, who usually does everything with gymnast fanfare or at 40 mph, was not interested in a walk in the woods. Her appetite diminished. Afghans tend to be dramatic but none of my usual food tricks were working. I took her for an exam, and her blood work was fine. Next day when she wouldn’t eat at all and had a sudden, weird cough, she went back for x-rays. A large sac of fluid surrounded her heart. I rushed Halle to the emergency clinic where the specialists immediately began draining her chest. A tumor on her right atrium was most likely bleeding into the pericardial sac. She didn’t beat the odds on the ultrasound. As the fluid was removed, the suspected tumor reared its hideous head. No determining how long it had been there.

Once the fluid is gone the dog feels better because the heart is (temporarily) not being compressed. Halle was up and raring to go as soon as her sedation wore off. As the vet tech said, “She doesn’t look sick and she doesn’t look 11.” But dogs must stay at the ER at least overnight for initial monitoring because the fluid will return. “When?” is the question you’re afraid to ask. In hours, days, weeks, best case scenario- months. Surgery and chemo are not viable options. Draining again is questionable. We may explore the possibility of Chinese herbs. The cardiac site tends to have the shortest hemangiosarcoma life expectancy.

Halle is an absolute treasure. She is an affectionate, agreeable Afghan Hound rescue gal with a double dose of the comedienne gene. She snaps her teeth like castanets as if she were summoning a waiter when she wants us to serve her. Halle was the Maid of Afghan when her little Cavalier mix sister married our vet’s dog during a hospital wedding. She’s a dog that wouldn’t allow the police car to get ahead of her in the Sayville Pet Parade. A dog that delighted nursing home residents. She knew when to alight on a bed like a butterfly. A dog that got loose at a rescue event, and ran around East Northport in a Spider Woman costume, until a mystery man stepped out of a church to stop traffic with a huge board that looked so much like a cross. A canine sister that worked wonders bringing her brother Edgar Afghan Poe out of his shell after he was rescued from a New Mexico hoarder house.

Halle is home. Her beautiful coat is shaved on both sides for the EKG leads. She greeted her dad with a ballerina pirouette. The cancer in her heart has broken mine. Today I baked her chicken liver brownies. No matter how much time we have with our beloved pets, it is never enough. Each day is a gift.

Hope on the horizon:

According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, cancer affects one out of every three dogs. Of those, over half of them will die of cancer. Hundreds of canine cancer research projects are underway, thanks to the AKC Canine Health Foundation and Morris Animal Foundation, which are exploring inherited risks via the Canine Genome Project, diagnostic tests, new drugs and even individualized vaccines targeting tumors. Many breed clubs are helping fund studies that affect their breed. Findings have the potential to help people too.

“The passion that moves us forward is from experiencing what cancer really does to the ones we love. We are driven because there is a hole in our soul where once was the love of our dog,” Gary D. Nice, founder of the National Canine Cancer Foundation.

Protecting your pet:

Certain cancers can be stopped by early detection. Chase Away K9 Cancer is a division of the National Canine Cancer Foundation dedicated to “Chase” a six yearold dock diving champion Labrador Retriever who died from a fast-growing nasal tumor. Chase Away K9 Cancer launched the “Be Your Dog’s Hero” campaign which urges owners to take “10 on the 14th” each month and check their senior pets from head to toe for lumps and bumps and other early warning signs. The 14th was chosen to honor Chase’s birthday.

For Adoption at Babylon Shelter (631-643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon:

“Brownie” 14-444 is the young pocket Pit who came into the shelter with her pups. She is a delightful dog who looks up at you adoringly and likes other dogs. “Oliver” 4-361 is a tabby kitten in autumn orange, part of a most affectionate litter in the lobby.

Article reposted from:
http://www.babylonbeacon.com/news/2014-10-02/Columnists/Pets_Pets_Pets.html

Written by: Jeanne Anderson

New hope for beloved family pets: New blood test for canine cancer

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Nearly one out of four dogs will develop cancer in their lifetime and 20 per cent of those will be lymphoma cases.

A team of researchers from the University of Leicester has helped Avacta Animal Health Ltd to develop a new user-friendly electronic system for diagnosing lymphoma in dogs in the early stages, and for remission monitoring.

Marketed as cLBT (canine lymphoma blood test), this is the first test of its kind to track the remission monitoring status of a dog after undergoing chemotherapy.

Led by Professor Alexander Gorban from the University’s Department of Mathematics, the University team together with experts from Avacta elaborated technology for differential diagnosis of canine lymphoma and for remission monitoring.

This technology is based on the cLBT, which detects the levels of two biomarkers, the acute phase proteins C-Reactive Protein and Haptoglobin.

Avacta Animal Health Ltd has been actively involved in developing new tests for canine lymphoma. Having collected a substantial library of biological samples in order to conduct research in this area, they have tested the data by working closely with the University of Leicester and its leading statistical and data processing techniques. Researchers analysed clinical data, tested various machine learning methods and selected the best approach to these problems.

Alexander Gorban, Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Leicester, said: “This was a very interesting project, and Avacta was a very dedicated, focused company, with clear goals and objectives. There were very important and useful ideas and concepts involved in the study, and it was a pleasure to know that our expertise as a department was needed and could be utilised through working alongside Avacta’s professional expertise.

“The project was very successful, and we would be very glad to welcome more partnerships of this type as it has also been very beneficial to the reputation of the University of Leicester’s Department of Mathematics. The project involved full academic and commercial success, which has included a full academic cycle as well as full software development, which makes it an incredibly diverse project to have worked on.”

During the study, which was funded by the University’s Innovation Partnership project, the academic team selected the best method to work with the data collected by Avacta and prepared the online diagnostic system over a period of six months. These methods included further development of the system for canine lymphoma differential diagnosis and for remission monitoring.

Chief Scientific Officer at Avacta Animal Health, Kevin Slater, said: “The collaboration we have with the University of Leicester’s Department of Mathematics is having a dramatic impact on the types of new tests that we can offer to vets and their owners. We are already widening the application of multivariate analysis to other diseases which commonly affect our pets, and subsequently, this work could also have benefits to human health.”

Article reposted from:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140923085935.htm

Original Source: University of Leicester

Journal Reference:
E.M. Mirkes, I. Alexandrakis, K. Slater, R. Tuli, A.N. Gorban. Computational diagnosis and risk evaluation for canine lymphoma. Computers in Biology and Medicine, 2014; 53: 279 DOI: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2014.08.006

Paws for a Cause: Event set to benefit canine cancer

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

“My Best Friend’s Training” in LaMoille will be hosting their first ever Paws for a Cause fundraiser event this Saturday, Sept. 27.

This event is calling on all area dog owners to join in on a fun-filled afternoon with their furry friend, while at the same time supporting a great cause.

Jen Rhodes, owner of My Best Friend’s Training, has put together a number of activities for dogs to partake in – everything from a best kisser contest, to highest jumper, best costume, fastest dog, best catcher and more.

Jen Rhodes (right), owner of My Best Friend's Training, stands with her dog, Tosha. My Best Friend's Training will host a Paws for a Cause fundraiser event Saturday, Sept. 27. All monies raised will benefit the National Canine Cancer Foundation. Also pictured is Rhodes' daughter, Amanda Mancilla, with Kacy. (BCR photo/Goldie Currie)

There will be trophies and treats for the winners of each category.

The event is free and open to the public. For those who don’t have a furry friend but are interested in seeing the fun, Rhodes invites everyone to come watch the fun.

Rhodes explained the money raised at Saturday’s event will benefit the National Canine Cancer Foundation. The foundation is a non-profit corporation dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health issue in dogs by funding grants which are directly related to cancer research. These grants work to save dogs’ lives by finding cures, better treatments and accurate, cost-effective diagnostic methods in dealing with canine cancer.

“People don’t realize there is a foundation for dogs that will actually help you financially beat the disease or help the dog through the disease,” Rhodes said. “It’s for the cure. It’s for them to figure out what’s causing these different cancers. There are so many different cancers in canines.”

Rhodes said this is a topic that hits home for her, as she raises Rottweilers who are more prone to cancer. Just last year, Rhodes lost her 2-year-old Rottweiler to cancer.

“That was it for me. I was at the point where I knew we have to do something,” she said. “People don’t know this foundation is there to help them, and we’re looking to raise more awareness for it.”

Rhodes is looking forward to a great turnout on Saturday. The event begins at 2 p.m. and will be held at the location of My Best Friend’s Training at 28593 2650 North Avenue, LaMoille. There will be door prizes, a 50/50 drawing, activities for children, refreshments and a bake sale. For more information about the event search for My Best Friend’s Training on Facebook.

News reposted from:
http://www.bcrnews.com/2014/09/22/paws-for-a-cause/ap1hnnb/

Written by: Goldie Currie

Team Its For The Dogs Continues to Take a Stand Against Canine Cancer!

Friday, September 19th, 2014

In 2008 Debra Roseman decided she needed a new hobby and on Thanksgiving Day she set out and hit the pavement for her first run. Several months later, and many miles later, her husband found an event online called “The Bruiser Memorial 5k” being held in October 2009. Knowing his wife’s love for dogs, he suggested she go to the race which benefited canine cancer research.

Deb did sign up for the race that day and having known friends who lost their dogs to cancer she even took a shot at fundraising for the event.  It was only a few weeks out so she was short on time, but was able to raise several thousand dollars.

Soon thereafter, several other friends of Deb lost their dogs to cancer.  One was Frank Heffelfinger.  He decided to join Deb at the Bruiser race in 2010 and from there blossomed a friendship between Deb and Frank that will be forever cemented through the love of dogs.  Deb and Frank fundraised separately and again raised several thousands of dollars.  At the end of the race the wheels began to turn… what could be done as a TEAM?  And so Team It’s For the Dogs was formed.  With the announcement of the team, new members wanted to be a part of this special journey.  The members changed a little throughout the new few years, but all members except two (Deb and Terry Travis) had shared a common bond.  All had lost at least one dog to cancer.

For 2011 the team hit the ground running and held agility fun runs, raffles, wrist band sales, and 50/50s to raise funds.  The support of the dog community was amazing and the drive of the team increased.  They dreamed BIG and drove HARD and fundraised BIG.  The team idea proved to be a huge success and it was decided they would continue to keep the hope alive.

2012 was to be a different year for Deb.  Early in January after feeding her 4 dogs breakfast, one collapsed at her feet.  Hannah was rushed to the ER but there was nothing that could be done for her.  Heart based hemangiosarcoma had claimed her life.  The loss of Hannah drove Deb to drive harder and to drive her team harder than ever.  The raffles became bigger.  The agility runs became more numerous.  Everything became bigger and better.  Unfortunately Deb’s experience with cancer was not to stop there.  In April 2013 she had to give her Elkhound the gift of no more suffering.  He had been diagnosed with nasal cancer a few months prior.    In addition to what had already been done in years past, Deb added an obedience match and an online auction to the mix of fundraising opportunities.  Driven now more than ever by the loss of two of her own beloved canine companions.

Over the years that Deb and Frank ran the race individually, combined with the three years of team fundraising, Team It’s For The Dogs has raised over $50,000 for canine cancer research.  Even though the Bruiser Memorial was retired, they made the decision to continue fighting as a team.  With the hope that someday that helpless feeling of a cancer diagnosis would be no more.  That HOPE for LIFE will prevail…

See the highlights from their very first event on their own. Which won’t be their last!

For the past three years, Team It’s For The Dogs has participated in The Bruiser Memorial 5k to raise funds for canine cancer research.  In conjunction with running the race and traditional fundraising, the team has run several types of events to raise money including memorial agility runs, raffles, online auctions, 50/50s and obedience matches.

While looking for even more ways to raise money for this cause that is so near and dear to all of our hearts, Paul Mount of PMCC Services LLC approached us with the idea of holding a UKI fundraising agility trial.   Given “The Bruiser” had retired after 5 very successful years leaving us without a “base” event, we decided to GO FOR IT!

In order to “go for it” however, we needed to keep expenses as low as possible.  We were very delighted to learn that Darryl Warren would DONATE his judging services and that K9Jym in Colmar, PA would DONATE the use of their facility to us!  Additionally, Paul also would be donating back a large portion of the entry fees.

We didn’t stop there though!  We looked for more ways we could raise funds at the trial and along with having a wonderful spread of amazing raffle prizes donated by ourselves and our various dog loving friends, we also offered “mulligan runs”.  If you wanted to run a course again for practice you could pay $5 at the gate and get training time in the ring.

Now that all of that was set, we all anxiously awaited for the big day, August 23, 2014.

The day arrived and it could not have been more perfect.  The trial was a big success and the raffle and mulligan runs were very well received.   After all was said and done, along with a few flat donations including a rather large personal donation from the trial secretary, we sat down and crunched the numbers and learned that we raised $3,100!  This money is being donated to the National Canine Cancer Foundation with a request it be used to help fund their Hemangiosarcoma Research Project.

Huge thank you to EVERYONE involved in this inaugural event… The exhibitors, the volunteers, our secretary Paul, Debb and Roy of K9Jym, and our judge Darryl.   We are looking forward to next year already!