Pet owners often ask us if we are aware of any CLINICAL TRIALS that may be available to their cat or dog who has been diagnosed with cancer. While there certainly are a number of studies occurring around the world, participation in a clinical trial can often be difficult, especially if the trial is going on in a hospital or clinic far away from your home.
Each clinical trial has very specific qualifications for participation that include everything from the breed and age of the participant to the life expectancy, weight and of course the type of cancer. Each study is very particular in its criteria for participation. Something else to take into consideration is that clinical trials are NOT always free. There may be fees to participate because grants may only cover a certain portion of the trial, and you may have to travel a long way to participate for several weeks or months perhaps.
Clinical Research Trial Overview
Clinical trials may involve novel diagnostic methods or therapies including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgical procedures, hypo- or hyperthermia, immunotherapy and photodynamic therapy, among others. While most clinical research trials are conducted at colleges of veterinary medicine, a growing number of specialty referral practices are participating in clinical research. For some trials, all visits must occur at the trials institution or practice, but for others there are tests or procedures that could be performed at the general practice. When discussing the possibility of participating in a clinical trial with pet owners, it is helpful to share that although “experimental,” or “investigational,” the safety and efficacy of new therapies and procedures have often been evaluated first in laboratory animals as well as normal dogs or cats, and the therapy is considered to be of potential benefit to the patient.
Good habits reminder for veterinarians managing pets enrolled in clinical trials
Adherence to the treatment protocol is of vital importance to ensure that the protocol is followed as planned, such that the results are both reliable and meaningful. Any deviation in the pet’s health or management (including medications and supplements) must be reported to the trials institution. For most trials, owners are asked to agree to a necropsy in the event of the death of their pet. Pet owners also may appreciate the translational value of the research in which their pet may be participating. Many naturally-occurring cancers in pet animals closely resemble human cancer and provide meaningful systems for cancer research to benefit both man and animals.
Searchable Clinical Trials Database
VCS has a searchable clinical trials database that you may access to see if there is a trial that may be of benefit for your pet. This site was originally created by the Veterinary Cooperative Oncology Group (VCOG) with the support of the Veterinary Cancer Society (VCS). While VCS represents a group of board-certified veterinary oncologists and associated specialists assembled to promote high quality veterinary oncology, VCOG promotes collaborative investigations through the establishment of common goals and endpoints for the purpose of benefiting both animals and people affected by cancer. In 2016, the site was transitioned to a broader platform through the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) which encompasses all aspects of veterinary medicine.
This site was designed for use by everyone who participates in the treatment of pet animals with cancer, including pet owners, general practice veterinarians, and oncologists and other specialty veterinarians. Information is provided to inform both private practice and academic veterinarians, and to promote accrual for the timely completion of clinical trials while providing state-of-the-art treatment options for pets with cancer.
Other Clinical Research Links
There are a number of veterinary hospitals, clinics and organizations who participate in clinical trials and we invite you to visit any of the following links that may provide you with additional information on clinical trials:
- Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University
- Animal Clinical Investigation
- The Animal Medical Center
- Cornell University
- Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists
- National Cancer Institute
- North Carolina State University
- The Ohio State University
- Red Bank Veterinary Hospital
- University of California-Davis
- University of Illinois
- University of Minnesota
- University of Missouri
- Tufts University
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Wisconsin
- Veterinary Cancer Care P.C.
- Veterinary Oncology & Hematology Center
- Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology
- Veterinary Specialty Center of the Hudson Valley
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