A recent article in USA Today featured a man who met a dog receiving the same kind of experimental brain cancer treatment.
Two years ago, John Huls underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation for a brain tumor. He opted against continued chemotherapy and radiation for brain cancer treatment due to side effects. He then enrolled in a clinical trial for an experimental vaccination made from brain cancer cells. The vaccine stimulates the immune system to combat his brain tumor.
Remarkably, he recently met a 14 year old Golden Retriever named Piper, who is also enrolled in a clinical study, at the University of Minnesota Veterinary School. Piper is a canine brain cancer patient, and is also receiving an experimental vaccine for his brain tumor.
Cancer in dogs is very similar to cancer in people. As a matter of fact, the similarities are so great that dogs are being used commonly to gain information about human cancers. The area of cancer study between species is called comparative oncology.
These similarities are fortunate for a variety of reasons. Much of the leading research in human medicine was used in the development of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide and Apocaps, since human research is even more extensive than veterinary studies.
One of the reasons cancer cells are able to grow and divide in the body is that they are able to evade the immune system. The body has difficulty recognizing that these are harmful cells, and for the most part ignores them.
Cancer vaccines are useful in helping the immune system recognize cancer cells, and stimulates immune system activity against these cells. A similar approach was used in developing the first canine cancer vaccine, used to treat melanoma.
Not only are cancers able to avoid immune detection, they also are capable of suppressing the immune system. This effect weakens the body, both dog and human, and increases the odds of infection. To make matters worse, chemotherapy drugs may also suppress the immune system. For these reasons, the use of immune stimulating supplements is an important part of the Full Spectrum Care strategy recommended in the Guide.
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.