You might not know it by looking at her, but Remy is one lucky dog, and she has a new cancer drug under development in cooperation with the University of Kansas Cancer Center to thank for helping to keep her alive.
Last June, Remy’s owner noticed an inoperable egg-sized tumor growing on the 10-year-old Sheltie’s left front leg. The dog that had already survived puppy mills and being lost in freezing cold appeared to be in peril again. Just when it looked like her luck had run out, Remy’s veterinarian remembered hearing about cancer drug trials that were being conducted in pet dogs. So he called HylaPharm, a KU spinout company that has had great success treating cancer in dogs by injecting a chemotherapy medication directly into tumors.
It wasn’t long before Remy was accepted as part of a test of one of the two new drugs under development – Caninamide and Veresimod. The treatment protocol called for four shots of Caninamide given two weeks apart, but after just one injection, Remy’s tumor showed signs it was dying. Within a few months, the wound had healed.
Both new drugs are created in the HylaPharm laboratory on West Campus in Lawrence by a team led by co-founder and chief technical officer Laird Forrest, Ph.D., COO, a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. For both new drugs, the team has been able to repurpose existing products.
Caninamide and Veresimod are designed like their predecessor HylaPlat, so they can be injected directly into cancerous tumors. But unlike HylaPlat, these drugs are part of a new trend in cancer research designed to work with programmed death one (PD1) immune therapies that use a person’s own immune system to fight the cancer. The researchers hope that by injecting the medications directly into the tumors, the effects will be more localized and hopefully mesh well with other cancer treatments.
Because both drugs are in their testing infancy, the team is looking for dogs of almost any size or breed to take part in the testing. They work with local veterinarians to determine if the dogs and the cancers are suitable for treatments. Anyone who has a pet dog with cancer can call 913-588-3840 to see about participating in the study.
To read more, go to: Canines for a cure