Thus far, test of the Golden Retriever's cells found the cells to be responsive to dasatinib, a TKI that was not approved
for veterinary use. So, researchers are attempting to use low doses of the TKI at first to measure the dog's tolerance.
Getting the human and veterinary sides to join forces was largely attributed to the legwork of Charles Keller, MD, who is
in pediatric oncology at OHSU, and was looking to collaborate with veterinarians. According to Séguin, Keller really understands
the value of the research done in veterinary medicine and can still be very ethical about it.
"What I admire about him," Séguin says, "is that it's never been, 'We're going to do whatever it takes at the cost of dogs,'
— it's always been, 'We'll do what's right for dogs, and we'll hopefully be able to use that for humans.' "
So far, Séguin says he's encouraged by the results with regard to chemotherapy and use of surgery to treat canine cancer.
"It's incredibly promising for the time being, but it is too early to know if it's going to change how we treat the disease,
because the results are not mature enough. We're not at a point where we're changing the standard of care, especially since
most of our research to date has been in vitro."
The message to veterinarians who are treating osteosarcoma or even hemangiosarcoma in dogs: "Don't give up yet," Séguin says.
While researchers have made progress for dogs with osteosarcoma in removing the tumor and saving limb function, he says there's
no standard for limb sparing yet.
Overall, he says, the take-home messages are simple: Limb sparing is becoming more successful than it was in the past because
newer technology allows veterinarians to perform limb sparing with greater success.
Secondly, there are a number of drugs that have been developed by pharmaceutical companies that may change how veterinarians
treat osteosarcoma and other cancers.
Lastly, he says, "the future is bright. We're going to crack the nut one of these days. We won't give up. Personalized medicine
seems to be the way veterinary medicine, especially regarding cancer, will be practiced in the future."
For example, in cases of osteosarcoma, he says, "Basically it is naive of us to think that every dog or every human with the
same disease should have the same drugs and will have the same response. We've learned by now that osteosarcoma is very different
from one patient to another, and likewise, that patients will respond differently to each drug."