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Trial Tests Cancer Drug’s Ability
to Stimulate Immune System

Jeffrey Bryan, DVM, MS PhD, ACVIM, associate professor of oncology at the MU Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital, is enrolling dogs in an immunotherapy trial to test whether a detoxified bacteria can be effective in attacking cancerous tumors in dogs and triggering an immune response within the dogs.

The study will involve 30 dogs total that each will be treated over a six-week period. So far two have been treated with the bacterial agent, Clostridium novyi-NT. Bryan is seeking dogs with soft tissue sarcoma and melanomas or carcinomas of the mouth or skin. The trial pays all costs for eligible dogs including costs associated with treating any complications, should they arise.

Because tumors have low levels of oxygen, the modified bacterial agent is expected to selectively grow in the tumor environment and attack the tumor itself while stimulating the immune system to respond to any future cancerous growths. The Veterinary Hospital recently acquired a positron emission tomography (PET) scanner, which will allow Bryan to effectively create a three-dimensional image that shows not only the size of a tumor, but also its metabolic activity.

Bryan is working on the study with Amy DeClue, DVM, MS, ACVIM, director of MU’s Comparative Internal Medicine Laboratory. DeClue’s lab is proving serial immunological evaluations to determine how dogs respond to the therapy.

There is also a human trial component to the study that is taking place at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md.

For more information or to inquire about enrolling a dog in the study, contact the Oncology Clinical Trials Service at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, 866-895-7267. Additional details about the study and other cancer trials under way at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine can be found at

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Phone: (573) 882-3554
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Last Update: February 29, 2012