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A new cancer treatment for dogs raises hope for humans

Photo: WA dog cancer trial raises hope for humans
Early results from a cancer treatment trial on dogs in Western Australia have been encouraging and raise hopes it could be used for both canines and humans.

A new cancer treatment being trialled on dogs in Western Australia has raised hopes for human patients, with initial results showing 30 per cent of the canines went into complete remission.

Curtin University has developed the treatment and is conducting the trial with cancer immunology company Selvax and Perth Veterinary Specialists.

The first group of 10 dogs with soft tissue sarcomas were tested at the lowest of three dose levels, and three of them were cured.

None showed any toxic side-effects.
Curtin University Associate Professor Delia Nelson says dogs develop similarly aggressive sarcomas to humans and they are difficult to treat in both.

"They can be fatal and for many sarcomas, outcomes haven't improved significantly in over 40 years, so to develop a more effective treatment of the disease would be a significant medical achievement," she said on Monday.

"The interim results of this trial strongly suggest that with continued development, this treatment could have potential for treatment of sarcomas in humans."

Selvax director Tony Fitzgerald said the treatment had already been tested in repeated small animal trials against eight different solid tumours, achieving cure rates ranging from 30 per cent to more than 90 per cent for colorectal cancer.

Again there were no side-effects, Mr Fitzgerald said.

"Selvax also achieved a cure rate of 80 per cent in its small animal trials for osteosarcomas," he said.

"Our goal is to complete the development of an effective patient-friendly cancer immunology treatment for solid tumours in both dogs and humans.

"These new interim trial results would suggest we are well on our way."

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