Cure for Cancer Goes to the Dogs

A new drug has been approved to fight cancer -- in pets

By Marianne Favro
|  Thursday, Jun 4, 2009  |  Updated 1:51 PM PDT
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Cure for Cancer Goes to the Dogs

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Don't feel sad, little pup: The vet has a cure for what ails you.

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It's the clearest sign yet that we love our pets a little too much: The FDA has approved a drug to treat cancer in dogs.

Until now, four-legged friends diagnosed with cancer were given human drugs "off label" -- in other words, veterinarians prescribed cancer drugs that had been cleared for humans, using a loophole in drug laws. The specific drug approved, Palladia, treats mast-cell tumors in dogs, a type of skin cancer.

Mast-cell tumors are the second most common cancer in dogs. The drug works by killing tumor cells and cutting off its blood supply. In tests, 60 percent of dogs that were given Palladia saw their tumors disappear, shrink or stop growing. The main difference between Palladia and the off-label treatments veterinarians used before? It's specifically been tested for safety in dogs.

In other words, it's not really about treating dogs. It's about treating their owners.
 

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