Zoie Participates in Mast Cell Cancer Study
Zoie was almost twelve when her mom, Cathy, noticed what she thought was just an inflamed, white nipple. Dr. White at Animal Hospital of Seminole did a needle aspiration and the diagnosis was Grade 1 mast cell tumor.
Zoie had a similar type tumor on the opposite side of her chest about three years before, which was surgically removed with clean margins. Mast cell tumors can recur and spread if not removed with very large margins and that can be hard to accomplish depending on the tumor location. Often these tumors end up being inoperable.
Dr. White is conducting a trial study with an Australian company that makes anti-cancer medication from Australian rain forest harvested plants. The study has gone through several early phases abroad and is now being conducted at select locations in the United States trying to obtain FDA approval. The study targets mast cell tumors, which can be very unpredictable in nature, and which Golden Retrievers can be prone to getting.
Treatment involves injecting the tumor with the anti-cancer medication, which very specifically targets and destroys cancer cells. The tumors swell up, rupture and cause a wound that then heals on its own. Luckily, Zoie met the eligibility requirements to participate in this clinical trial study. This is an incredibly exciting potential development for dogs, and the participation of dogs like Zoie is crucial to collecting data and ultimately hopefully receiving FDA approval for use in the United States.
During the summer, Zoie was admitted to the vet, had an injection, and then spent the night for observation and lab work. She handled the injection well, her appetite was great and she had energy to play and take her morning walks. She returned to the vet several times over that first month for a second injection, observation, lab work, and photos. Periodic phone calls and questionnaires were done as part of the study protocol and Cathy completed regular “quality of life” assessments on her beloved golden, whose sweet disposition never changed.
Great news for Zoie and Cathy – it was determined that the tumor was gone!
Zoie continues to return for follow-up checks but her side is soft and lump-free. Zoie’s participation in the study not only helped her, but may also help other animals and their humans in the future. There is also hope that the Australian pharmaceutical company doing the trial study will someday be able to be use this medication to treat melanoma and other cancers in humans.
by Carol Harvest
Special thanks to Zoie, Cathy and Dr. Julie White for their participation to help find better ways to treat this disease.