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Treatment for canine osteosarcoma, the most common bone cancer in dogs, has not significantly changed in the past decade. This is particularly true for large- and giant-breed dogs that are poor candidates for amputation and also are at greater risk for developing osteoarthritis in their limbs. In human cancer, rapid advances that combine standard therapy with immunotherapy drugs are changing treatment paradigms, helping to slow tumor growth and cancer spread. Immunotherapies are treatments that trigger the body’s immune system to fight the cancer. Unfortunately, no commercially available immunotherapy drugs exist for use in canine osteosarcoma, despite the high prevalence in dogs and the expectation that the cancer will spread within 6-to-12 months of diagnosis, even with advanced treatment. To expand treatment opportunities, especially for large and giant breeds, researchers developed a drug that stops a protein found in osteosarcoma that blocks the body’s ability to attack the tumor. In the clinical trial arm of the study, the team will assess how this new drug stimulates the immune system to fight osteosarcoma, and how to combine it with standard-of-care treatment like radiation in client-owned dogs. The team hopes this new immunotherapy approach will help improve long-term outcomes and quality of life for dog patients. Findings will provide essential preliminary data to inform and design a larger clinical trial in dogs with the deadly bone cancer.

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University of Minnesota
Study country
United States
Jessica Lawrence, DVM