Physicians, Veterinarians Team up to Fight Cancer

Grayson is my beagle, he’s six years old,
and he’s my best friend. When I actually got back from Iraq, while
I was still in the Marine Corps, I knew I wanted a beagle. I found him at a breeder.
He was two weeks old. I couldn’t take him home until he was eight weeks old, but I went
to visit him every weekend at the breeder, until I could take him home. He’s been by
my side ever since. He’s been diagnosed with lymphoma; they put him on a clinical
trial. Without that trial I wouldn’t have had the time with him that I have now. To the best of our ability to tell, cancer
in dogs is very similar to cancer in humans. So what we can do is we can take the most
exciting findings from our basic science studies and translate those into clinical trials in
conjunction with the vet school in pet dogs. While we can prolong a good quality of life
with our chemotherapy that we have right now, most of our dogs do go on and, unfortunately,
die of their cancer despite our best efforts. So we really need better treatment options
for not only our dogs, but also for people. Because while the cure rates are better in
people, still about 50 percent of people diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma will go on and
die of their cancer as well. It allows us to test therapies in cancers
that have developed over time, and are much more similar to human cancers than any mouse
model ever could be. Our ultimate goal is to improve cancer treatment
in our dogs and cats with cancer, and for people as well. Many pet owners in this country
feel that their dogs and cats are family members. So we’re all affected by cancer, whether
it’s our two-legged or our four-legged family members. So our hope is to improve treatment
outcomes for all of those family members. I’m just extremely grateful to UC Davis
for this opportunity to have all this extra time with him. His initial diagnosis gave
him a month and a half to live, and that was four months ago. So they’ve given me a lot
more time to spend with him. And every minute with him is a blessing, and I’m eternally
grateful for that.

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