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Experimental Therapy Effective Against Malignant Melanoma in Horses

Dr. John L. Robertson, a professor in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech and director of the college's Center for Comparative // Oncology (CECO) has been studying the similarities of malignant melanoma in horses and humans and has devised an experimental treatment for it.

At a presentation before the American Cancer Society in Roanoke, Va., he detailed his efforts to treat malignant melanoma in horses by using Frankincense oil. Robertson said that the risk factors of developing malignant melanoma in horses and humans are the same. In horses aging correlated with chronic exposure to sunlight is a big factor and the cancer is treated using chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and surgery. As an example Dr Robertson presented the case of a 11-year old Thoroughbred and champion jumper Chili, who was diagnosed with multi-centric malignant melanoma. Robertson treated the hose with medical grade sterile frankincense oil, which lessened the size of the tumors in the horse and killed off some tumor cells. "I think this research on frankincense oil suggests that this ancient medicine may have significant modern uses for chemotherapy of non-resectable malignancies," said Robertson, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. "This research showed that equine melanomas respond to this therapy." Frankincense oil is an extract from fermented plants and has numerous chemicals like boswellic acid, which is a recognized anti-cancer chemical. However the exact mechanism by which the oil acts is not known. Contact: Jeffrey Douglas jdougas@vt.edu Virginia Tech
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