In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists have helped advance a patient-specific, precision medicine treatment for bone cancer in dogs.
By creating a vaccine from a dog’s own tumor, scientists at the University of Missouri worked with ELIAS Animal Health to target specific cancer cells and avoid the toxic side effects of chemotherapy, while also opening the door for future human clinical trials.
“A vaccine is made out of the dog’s own tumor for the dog’s immune system to recognize,” stated Jeffrey Bryan, a professor of oncology at Missouri's College of Veterinary Medicine and director of the Comparative Oncology Radiobiology and Epigenetics Laboratory. “The dogs received no chemotherapy and received only immunotherapy after their surgery. It’s the first time that dogs with osteosarcoma have experienced prolonged survival without receiving chemotherapy, which is really exciting.”
Overall, the dogs receiving this therapy had more than 400 days of remission, compared to about 270 days for dogs receiving chemotherapy in a separate study by the National Cancer Institute.
As a veterinary student in the early 1960s, I recall reading about Soviet scientists who proposed this approach to treating some cancers. This is the first clinical confirmation of this concept that I have read since then.
DEAR DR. FOX: I read your article about coyote contests, and you never gave a good answer on how to control coyote populations. It would be great if a photo contest worked, but you and I both know that doesn’t help the overpopulation.
The coyote is a beautiful animal and resource. As you should know, all resources have to be managed.
In Oklahoma, I trust our expert wildlife biologist to determine the correct carrying capacity. You might want to speak to the wildlife experts before you write a fairy tale article.
-- C.S., Norman, Oklahoma
DEAR C.S.: If you want to really read fairy tales about coyotes, read how some state and federal wildlife agencies regard coyotes and other predators as "sustainable resources," while others call them varmints and vermin, and have an open season to shoot, trap, poison and even set big dogs on them.
Sheep and cattle ranchers who have no guard dogs have played a major role in exterminating apex predators, decimating America's wild heritage and biodiversity. Lyme, Chronic Wasting and other diseases spread, along with increases in wild prey species (deer, elk, etc.) once managed by wolves, coyotes and other predators. Systematic, nationwide extermination of wolves has enabled coyotes to fill the niche. Trying to exterminate coyotes is futile because they quickly re-colonize and produce more offspring, all a consequence of gross mismanagement and a lack of sound science.
The notion of "carrying capacity" is absurd, another fairy tale considering the extensive damage caused by ranchers grazing their livestock on public lands. Coyotes can help dysfunctional ecosystems recover, and more than one rancher who understands such interspecies dynamics has told me that they welcome coyotes whose presence helps improve the land. But, with climate change and increasing evidence of the global impact of livestock production and consumption, the days of ranching, as practiced today, will go the way of the Dodo.
"Coyote America," the book by Dan Flores, may give you a more informed perspective. Also, visit www.projectcoyote.org for more details.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.net.)