Doctors at the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital (part of the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University) are testing a new treatment for mammary cancer in dogs, involving nanoparticles designed to cling to cancerous cells once they are injected into a dog’s blood stream.
Milan Milovancev, Associate Professor of Small Animal Surgery at the Hospital, explained that the nanoparticles work in two ways.
“They fluoresce in the near infrared, which can be seen with a special camera which surgeons can use to find the tumor. The particles also contain a reactive oxygen species that causes oxidative damage in the tissue you want to treat when stimulated by an infrared laser.”
The cancerous cells are effectively killed by an overabundance of oxygen, the same mechanism which gives hydrogen peroxide and bleach their disinfectant power. This technique is being tried first on mammary cancer because the tissues are relatively simple and uniform.
“The really exciting thing is that in the future, it could be not just reactive oxidation but cancer-fighting drugs for specific cancers”, Dr. Milovancev explains.
According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, more than 25% of female dogs that haven’t been spayed will develop this type of cancer at some point in their life. If you’re interested in enrolling your dog in any exploratory medical trial, you can contact the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine at https://vetmed.oregonstate.edu/clinical-trials.