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Dogs Help in Hunt for New Cancer Drugs
Date:3/23/2009

or 15 percent when applied to humans, added Bauer, who said he now directs scientific research at the Bauer Research Foundation in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

It's been five years since Oscar's death-sentence reprieve with the new drug, and he's still going strong.

Since then, three other dogs have been treated and have responded to the drug, called nitrosylcobalamin (NO-Cbl), without any negative reactions, Bauer said. He was to present the findings Monday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Salt Lake City.

The research field appears so promising that the U.S. National Cancer Institute has established the Comparative Oncology Program to evaluate chemotherapy drugs in dogs.

And the first U.S. canine tumor tissue bank started accepting tissue and blood samples from dogs with cancer in 2007. The new "biospecimen repository" facility lies adjacent to the National Cancer Institute's own library of human cancer samples.

NO-Cbl works like a "Trojan horse," binding to vitamin B12 receptors on cell surfaces. This blocks the action of B12, which aids and abets the potentially deadly divide-and-multiply process of cancer cells.

Since Oscar, Bauer has treated a 13-year-old giant schnauzer named Haley with thyroid cancer and a 6-year-old Golden Retriever named Buddy with malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor.

Buddy's tumor shrank 40 percent after 10 months of daily treatment, he said. Haley's shrank by 77 percent.

Bauer's group is now doing research with 10 dogs. They will be tracked for a year with the help of their own veterinarians. Based on the results of that research, Bauer said, he hopes to file for an investigational new drug application for NO-Cbl from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a phase I clinical trial on humans.

"There's a great inequity for drugs available for veterinary use and those available for human use," Bauer said. "Most of thos
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