At the University of Minnesota, they are experimenting with a treatment that gives new hope to K-9 patients with brain cancer. And hopefully the findings will eventually be translated to human patients.
For "Batman", who suffered from an aggressive brain tumor, recovery was slow, and there were setbacks, including a fall that left him temporarily blind. Now, the ten-year-old dog is acting like a puppy again and follow-up tests indicate his brain cancer is gone.
John Ohlfest of the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center, says of the procedure that, "This has never been done before. No one has ever combined gene therapy in the brain for a brain tumor with vaccine. We're going to push forward. We're going to write a human clinical protocol, and try to push this forward in humans".
The vaccine was created from the dog's own cancer cells. Batman is not the only test case. The team from U of M's Veterinary School and its Masonic Cancer Center also removed a different type of brain tumor from Hunter, the boxer. Researchers say they are confident that what they learn from brain cancer in these dogs will eventually affect human patients as well.