Colorado State University is calling a newly approved lymphoma medication a breakthrough in canine cancer.
Tanovea-CA1 is the first drug approved by the FDA for treatment of canine lymphoma. It will be available to veterinarians nationwide this spring and could give a new hope to owners of dogs with cancer.
CSU veterinarians and Fort Collins-based company Vet DC helped bring the new drug to market. The university’s Flint Animal Cancer Center led the medication's clinical trials.
"Dogs with lymphoma are very sick dogs and they usually present and are noticeably show that their lymph nodes are very swollen and very tender. And because you have lymph nodes all over your body, it can be very uncomfortable. After treatment the size of the lymph nodes decreases quite rapidly so even after a week or two, the dogs are feeling much better," said Terry Opgenorth, vice president of CSU Ventures.
Veterinarians estimate that one in four dogs will develop cancer. Doses are given every three weeks with a total of five infusions.
Lymphoma is among the most common forms of cancer in pets. It typically starts in the lymph nodes and other organs of the immune system. The new drug is designed to target and attack cancer cells implicated in lymphoma.
"Across the board, we saw some positive activity in up to 80 percent of all the lymphoma patients that were treated with this medication," said Dr. Doug Thamm, a veterinarian and cancer researcher who led clinical trials at CSU's Flint Animal Cancer Center.
A 9-year-old Golden Retriever from Denver named Dane had his health rebound after treatment. His owners thought their dog would have to be euthanized because he could no longer stand and wouldn't eat or drink much.
After five months, Dane received his final treatment and his owners said he is doing much better.
Tanovea was originally created to treat lymphoma in human patients but never went through the human clinical development stage. The clinical trials were done on pets.
"The FDA has a center for veterinary medicine. They are very much interested in innovators of bringing drugs to market that actually have supportive data in the population that they'll treat, which are the canine patients. Tanovia is the first of its kind to treat canine lymphoma," Opgenorth said.