Experts at the Cleveland Clinic have successfully treated cancer in dogs, and this could lead to an interesting new strategy on how to fight cancer in people as well.
At the 237th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, Joseph A. Bauer, PhD presented findings, building on more than 60-years of research effort to developing a B12 based attack against cancer.
The story begins with a “miracle dog” by the name of Oscar, a ten year old Bichon Frise who had a very aggressive type of cancer known as anal sac adenocarcinoma.
After being treated with the standard chemotherapy and radiation, with no improvement, poor Oscar was left unable to walk and with about three months to live.
As a last hope, Oscar was given a potentially cancer killing medicine known as nitrosylcobalamin (NO-Cbl for short).
Within 14 days his cancer had improved significantly and he was back on his feet.
This compound has now been given to other dogs with equally promising results and no negative side effects. This drug targets cancer cells like a “Trojan horse”, delivered by being hidden inside something that looks harmless or beneficial.
The medication is made of nitric oxide that’s attached to vitamin B12. Researchers know that receptors on cell surfaces will attract the vitamin and assist it in getting into the cell.
The compound works because cancer cells have extra B12 receptors. Once inside, the nitric oxide is released and the cell dies. Genius, pure genius.
Bauer’s and his team is ultrasound and MRI imaging to monitor tumor sizes in all three of the dogs currently undergoing treatment.
After 9 months of NO-Cbl the spinal tumor of a 6 year old golden retriever, Buddy, has been shrunk by 40%, and the thyroid cancer of a 13 year old female giant schnauzer has shrunk by 77% in just ten weeks of treatment.
A fourth dog, Haley, also a golden retriever, is being treated for a spinal tumor. And once the team treated ten dogs successfully with the drug, they’ll attempt to get FDA approval to test the medication in people.
Bauer believes firmly that what works in these animals holds promise for treating their owners as well. Despite what you might think, mice aren’t the only good subjects to use for such research.
He points out that people and dogs are genetically similar – Similar to make a case for approval from the FDA.
Interesting to know that the National Cancer Institute collects data on pets, which makes sense if you think about it.
After all, they breathe the same air as we do; drink the same water as we do and eat processed foods just as we do.
“We are one of the few research groups that is offering to treat dogs with cancer that otherwise have no hope,” Bauer makes clear. “With no other options available, most people in this situation opt to euthanize so that their pets don’t go through the pain of disease and trauma of surgery.”
The good news for dog owners is that this treatment also offers hope for a faithful friend who may be one of the estimated 6 million dogs in the U.S. alone diagnosed with cancer each year.
It’s a rare thing for research to uncover a treatment that can be used for animals, and may realistically hold promise for people on how to fight cancer.