A New Approach to Identify Dog Tumors
Last week the Puget Sound Business Journal reported that veterinarians at Washington State University are using paint containing a chemical in scorpion venom to identify cancer cells in dogs.
When the “tumor paint” is injected under a dog’s skin, it makes malignant cells glow.” This helps doctors distinguish cancerous tumors from healthy parts of the body.
This make it it easier for vets to see and remove cancerous tumors and cells during surgery.
So far, WSU’s Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences has used the tumor paint on 28 dogs prior to their surgeries.
The paint allowed vets saved the limbs of at least 3 dogs because they could see cancerous cells more clearly.
“We’re always hearing about some new compound that targets tumors,” Dr. William Dernell told the PSBJ. He’s a professor and chair of WSU’s veterinary clinical sciences program. “From what we’ve seen, this one really does.”
The tumor paint was developed in Seattle at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Clinic.
The tumor paint is another potentially groundbreaking study conducted by WSU vets. They are also doing a 10-year, $25 million study of 3,000 dogs a study to determine why golden retrievers have high rates of cancer.
Researchers began clinical trials to test the tumor paint on humans during the WSU study. The doctor who developed the paint told the PSBJ that “animal tumors resemble those that arise in humans so it only makes sense for the two groups to reap the benefits that tumor paint can provide during cancer surgery.”
Since cancer in dogs is on the rise, the WSU study has huge potential to help oncology veterinarians save the lives and limbs of many dogs.