UAB study could help save dogs, humans with brain tumors

Updated: May. 9, 2018 at 11:35 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - UAB has a new free trial that could save dogs from dying of a brain tumor, and it could help humans in the long run too.

Believe it or not, you and your four-legged friend actually have more in common than you think.

One of the similarities is how your bodies respond to brain tumors and treatment.

Dr. Renee Chambers is a Neurosurgeon and also a veterinarian. She noticed the similarities between the two and how it could help both species. Right now there is a treatment for brain tumors that humans are using, and it's working, so Chambers and some other doctors got together to do a research study to see if dogs have the same success.

"We have enrolled three dogs today. Of course we don't have the results yet, but we expect them to have as good of results as the human," she explained.

The treatment is called MO32, and it's a version of the herpes virus. Researchers have studied this genetically modified version of the virus for years and are now using it in brain tumor therapy in humans. Now they will also use it to help fight dog brain tumors.

Chambers and her team hope to treat 14 dogs per year. She is partnering with three regional vet medicine schools: Auburn University, University of Georgia and Mississippi State University. It is a five-year study, and UAB received $2.6 million from the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot program through National Cancer Institute's Center for Cancer Research.

Anyone who enrolls their dog into the study does not have to pay a dime to have the therapy for their dog. Just tell your vet about the study and see if they can contact one of the participating vet schools to check on enrollment.

If the study works, it opens a lot of doors. It won't just save lives, it means scientists will be able to research treatments and cures at a much faster rate.

"If we can get data from another species and put it together with the data that we have on humans, the quicker we will more forward we can find things that are common to both species and hopefully improve outcomes for both," Chambers said.

Man and his best friend are benefiting as they get results in, and doctors hope this discovery leads to one thing.

"I hope revolutionary is the word," Chambers stated.

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