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In the News: U of M vets treat 100th brain tumor in canine, open doors for humans

No one wants to see their pet fall ill, but due to the U of M’s groundbreaking research in canine brain tumor surgery, some dog owners can find comfort knowing their pet’s ailment may be advancing human cancer treatments.

This is the case for Melody Jean, whose dog Murphy was diagnosed with glioma, a type of brain tumor. Initially, Jean was told that the tumor was inoperable and without chemotherapy, he would only have two months to live.

Fortunately, Jean discovered the work of Liz Pluhar D.V.M., Ph.D., and colleagues in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Their study, which has been going on since 2008, is focused on eliminating the type of cancer that struck Murphy.

Jean met with Pluhar, and now, 7-year-old Murphy will become the 100th canine clinical trial patient to undergo the experimental brain tumor removal procedure.

The two-step procedure works like this: Following tumor removal, the animal is given a vaccine. On average, the animal can then live at least another year without any side-effects of therapy.

The study shows potential to help humans suffering from the same condition. In fact, Pluhar explained that while dogs tend to go of 7 to 8 months without a tumor post-procedure, the treatment translates into 3.5-4 years for people.

“He’s going to help people. He’s going to help dogs, and what more could you ask for in a horrible situation?” Jean asked.

Read the story from KMSP-TV.

Read the official University of Minnesota news release.

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