Clinical trial day

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We are very excited to be enrolled in an osteosarcoma vaccine clinical trial.  Grover’s first vaccine was today! The clinical trial that we chose and that we also met inclusion criteria for is out of Yale University with Dr. Mark Mamula. One of the things that really stood out to us about this trial was how open Dr. Mamula was with his results to date and willingness to share them. We understand that the point of a clinical trial is to gather more data regarding safety and efficacy so things may change- but he was 100% open and forthcoming with everything that he had to date. This was really important to us, particularly when it came to the safety data.

This vaccine clinical trial, and other osteosarcoma vaccine trials, really embrace the concept of “one medicine” – which basically states that if everyone can work together – veterinarians, human physicians and researchers we will make so much more progress for all species, than if we work separately. Funding is very limited for veterinary species, especially compared to humans. A group at Tufts recently identified that canine osteosarcoma shares many of the same genetic characteristics as human osteosarcoma making it a better pre-clinical model for therapy testing than other traditional models such as mice. This is a win-win situation: dogs will benefit from getting access to more clinical trials than would ever be funded if canine osteosarcoma was treated as a “dog problem only” and ultimately the results of these trials will improve our ability to treat both dogs and people.

Additionally, prior to the trial we obtained a new set of thoracic radiographs – good news! Grover still does not have evidence of lung tumors and his rib tumor is unchanged compared to the last 2 sets of radiographs (so about 2 months time). We couldn’t have asked for better news today!

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4 months later

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I cannot believe that 4 months has come and gone. Four months ago we learned that Grover had a forelimb osteosarcoma and we thought his life was over. We wondered if it was fair to amputate his leg with all of his other problems – there were a lot of tears. Oh, so many tears.

We had serious discussions with others who were afraid that he could not handle life on three legs, particularly missing a front leg.  I distinctly remember telling his oncologist “He just needs to be a happy house pet, it’s not like we will ever or need to climb Kamiake butte again” and she said “you never know, he just might.”

This photo says it all (and for the record – it’s a hike up, not a drive up ;-)).