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Neurotoxin effectively relieves bone cancer pain in dogs, Penn researchers find
Date:10/23/2013

t kept following these dogs until the owners said, 'My dog's comfort level is not what it was before,'" Brown said.

By this gauge, SAP's ability to reduce pain was clear, the researchers found. While 74 percent of dogs in the control group had owners request to be unblinded within six weeks of the procedure, only 24 percent of dogs that received SAP had their owners request unblinding within that time frame. When taken as a whole, dogs treated with the standard-of-care pain relievers required unblinding significantly earlier than dogs that received the SAP injection.

Researchers noted only one major side effect: Some of the dogs with tumors in one of their front legs, who had thus received SAP injections higher in the spine, had wobbly, uncoordinated gaits. Lowering the dose of SAP injected corrected the problem.

Though receiving a SAP injection does require anesthesia, it offers an alternative treatment approach for pet owners who want a middle ground between simple pain-relieving drugs and the more aggressive approach of amputation plus chemotherapy, the researchers said.

"I could see this in wide application in veterinary medicine," Brown said. "For us this is a whole new realm of possibility of treatment."

If found to be effective in humans, spinal injections of SAP would offer an alternative to more extreme measures some cancer patients take, such as surgically severing nerves to alleviate pain, an intervention that can trigger serious side effects.

"People have talked about these neurotoxins as being a molecular neurosurgery," Brown said. "When patients get to the point where medical management isn't working anymore, this might be something for them to consider."


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Contact: Katherine Unger Baillie
kbaillie@upenn.edu
215-898-9194
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert

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