MU is seeking dogs with cancer for research
COLUMBIA — A team of veterinary oncologists at the MU Veterinary Health Center is looking for dogs with cancer to participate in a pilot study of a drug that will treat the body wasting that comes along with cancer treatment, called cachexia.
The drug will combat the weight loss and appetite loss that dogs experience while they are taking chemotherapy or radiation. According to the National Cancer Institute, cachexia is the cause of nearly one-third of cancer deaths.
The drug was developed by University of Missouri researchers and Tensive Controls, Inc. The pilot study will focus on making sure dogs who are going through cancer treatment also maintain a great quality of life.
Sandra Bechtel is a veterinary oncologist and one of the researchers working on the study. She said keeping the dogs comfortable is a priority.
"We want them to feel good, which is not something we typically think about with cancer therapy," she said. "I think we have a good group of very complementary oncologists with different research interests, but with the same goal of not just curing cancer, but keeping the quality of life great while we do so."
If these studies are successful, MU and Tensive Controls will work to get the drug approved for use in humans as well. Bechtel said dogs and humans are alike, so some of the same treatments should work.
"Dogs are very similar to us," she said. "They live in very similar environments, they eat very similar food, they're exposed to the same things, and when they develop cancer, they develop cancer naturally just like we do."
The study is taking place at the MU Small Animal Hospital. To inquire about enrolling a dog, call (573) 882-7821 and ask to speak to Deb Tate or Sandra Bechtel. You can also email Deb Tate at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sandra Bechtel at email@example.com.