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Morris Animal Foundation funds research to accelerate osteosarcoma treatment
Addresses need for better treatment options especially for large or giant breeds mostly affected by this cancer
Morris Animal Foundation is funding a study at The Ohio State University aimed at examining limb-sparing options for dogs diagnosed with osteosarcoma.
According to an organizational release,1 the study is spearheaded by Laura Selmic, BVetMed (HONS), MPH, DECVS, DACVS-SA, ACVS Founding Fellow, associate professor in the department of veterinary clinical sciences within the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the project’s principal investigator. The team goal is to accelerate the treatment and enhance the prognosis for canines with osteosarcoma who undergo radiation therapy.
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone tumor diagnosed in dogs, accounting for over 95% of all bone tumors.2 This cancer disproportionally impacts the long bones of large and giant-breed dogs. Existing treatment approaches consist of limb amputation, which can be challenging or impossible in some circumstances. Radiation therapy is an option for these patients, but it can weaken the bone and result in fractures.1
For the study, Selmic’s team will utilize artificial intelligence-assisted computer modeling to approximate fracture risk in canines with osteosarcoma in a limb. For those that are found to have a high fracture risk, the group will then test the efficacy of a special implant created to stabilize the affected bone post-radiation treatment.1 The findings could provide owners and veterinary oncologists with additional therapeutic options.
“We are very excited to be working together with Ali Nassiri, a research faculty member from the College of Engineering, on this project,” said Selmic, in the release.1 “We feel strongly there is a need to advance limb-sparing options in large and giant-breed dogs as current choices have high complication rates.”
“This study could help improve outcomes for dogs undergoing radiation therapy – those who are not considered to be good candidates for amputation,” added Janet Patterson-Kane, BVSc, PhD, FRCVS, Morris Animal Foundation chief scientific officer. “If successful, we have the potential to enhance their quality of life and healthspan, after receiving such a devastating diagnosis.”
The grant is funded by Dr Fay Cho, a long-time lover of Saint Bernards, as a homage to Biscotti, a cherished dog she lost to osteosarcoma. Cho collaborated closely with Morris Animal Foundation, directing funds to research striving to improve the success of limb-sparing treatment options for Saint Bernards and more giant breeds.
“I’ve had dogs with many different types of cancer,” shared Cho, in the release. “I made a promise to Biscotti as she was drawing her last breath that I would do something to help other dogs with this terrible disease. This grant is a fulfillment of that promise.”
- Morris Animal Foundation funds new study to advance osteosarcoma treatment. News release. Morris Animal Foundation. July 21, 2022. Accessed July 22, 2022. https://www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/article/morris-animal-foundation-funds-new-study-advance-osteosarcoma-treatment
- Signs & symptoms of bone cancer in dogs. Carolina Veterinary Specialists Matthews. Accessed July 22, 2022. https://www.matthews.carolinavet.com/site/pet-health-blog/2020/05/14/signs-symptoms-of-bone-cancer-in-dogs