Saving Dogs... Saving People - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Saving Dogs... Saving People

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By Maureen O'boyle - email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Scientists say their experiments to save dogs from cancer are also helping save people.

Researchers at N.C. State University College of Veterinary Medicine call the concept "One Medicine."

They say it works because on the cellular level, at least, dogs and humans are very similar.

As scientists learn to treat cancer in man's best friend, they're also learning how to fight the disease in humans.

Sandy is a dog and she seems to know doctors are trying to make her better.

"She says give me lots of attention before I go to sleep," says her owner, Beth Case.

Sandy is getting ready for another round of hypothermia treatment.  Her doctor's hope it will give Sandy a better chance of beating her cancer.

Sandy is the 29th dog to take part in this clinical trial.  With the use of a machine, Case heats the tumor.

They've found increasing the temperature at the center of the cancerous tumor kills some of the cancer cells around the mass and this allows the radiation treatment to work much better.

Martha and Gerald Baysden showed WBTV pictures of their Weimaraners "Caymus" and "Georgia" like proud parents.

"They're everything, they're like our children to us, cause we don't have children. So, they take the place of kids to us," March Baysden said.  "This is the mom, that was like a day old."

Almost three years ago, doctors discovered a small bump on Georgia's leg was soft tissue sarcoma. 

"They went through tests and said 'Here are your options, you can do palliative care she may live six months,' we said 'That's not an option.'"

Following 5 weeks of Hypothermia treatment, doctors were able shrink and remove Georgia's tumor which allowed them to save her leg.

The implications of this clinical trial for the treatment of cancer in humans are huge.  Dogs like Georgia are giving researchers information that is saving human lives.  So far, Duke Medical Center is using this procedure to heat tumors in breast cancer patients.

Sixty percent of Golden Retrievers die from cancer, but the prognosis for Sandy is good.  The tumor is now 80 percent smaller.

The Baysdens are hoping their dog will eventually be cancer free.

This type of research has been going on at N.C. State University College of Veterinary Medicine for more than a decade.

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