Jelly Bean will continue betray expectations. A five-year-old Labrador Retriever mix hops from her favorite spot on the couch and roams the living room with ease as if she’s never had metastatic cancer. Owners Patricia and Zach Mendonka still don’t fully believe in this miracle. “She got a little bit of a drag on her leg,” says Patricia.
Jellybean was diagnosed with bone cancer in her hind legs about three years ago. Despite the amputation and chemotherapy, the cancer cells spread rapidly to her lungs through the blood, as in her 90% of cases in dogs. Survival at this stage averages 2 months. “We had no hope of curing her,” says Patricia. “We were pretty devastated.”
So in November 2020, the Mendons enrolled Jelly Bean in clinical trials at Tufts University, about an hour’s drive from their home in Rhode Island, USA. Jellybean was given three free pills, which the Mendonkas packed into her favorite chicken-flavoured snack every day. By Christmas, Jelly Bean’s tumor had begun to shrink, but has not recurred since. The reaction surprised even the veterinarians treating the jellybeans and raised hopes that these drugs could help humans as well as other dogs.
Osteosarcoma, a jelly bean bone cancer, also affects people, especially children and teens. Fortunately, it is relatively rare, with approximately 26,000 new cases diagnosed worldwide each year. The problem is that there have been no new treatments for more than 35 years, and the available treatments are not very effective, says veterinary oncologist Amy LeBlanc.Osteosarcoma Patients Survival Is Ridiculous about 30 percent When cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body.
Dog research, like the jelly bean trial, could change all that. Cancers that arise in pet dogs are molecularly and microscopically similar to human cancers, and the similarities are striking in the case of osteosarcoma. Canine tissue samples and human tumor tissue samples are indistinguishable when compared under a microscope. But while osteosarcoma is thankfully rare in humans, it is at least 10 times more common in dogs. That means there are huge numbers of canine cancer patients to help with research and drug testing. “Participating families and dogs are important pieces of the puzzle in moving this study forward,” says Cheryl London, a veterinary oncologist at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, who treats Jellybean.
Importantly, dogs are not subject to federal regulations that limit treatment options for humans. Veterinarians now have more freedom to use existing off-label drugs for diseases for which there are currently no adequate treatments. Overall, this makes clinical trials faster and cheaper.
Such attempts cancer moonshot The initiative was relaunched last year by U.S. President Joe Biden, asking Congress for additional proposals. $2.8 billion It will be included in the 2024 budget. “It’s designed to fill knowledge gaps not fully filled by conventional mouse studies or by data not yet easily collected in humans,” said LeBlanc, who directs the Comparative Oncology Program at the National Cancer Institute. It is done,” he said. The program oversees clinical trials in dogs with cancer conducted by Tufts and Cancer. 21 other veterinary colleges in America and Canada.