Dr. Theresa Fossum, one of the world’s leading small animal surgeons and author of the most widely used textbook on the subject, will perform a leading-edge procedure to treat the deadly osteosarcoma tumor afflicting Rowdy, an eight-year-old Great Pyrenees owned by the Cordts family from San Antonio, today at the Texas A&M Institute for Preclinical Studies.
Using a unique micro-drill designed specifically for procedures of this nature, Dr. Fossum and her team will drill into the bone of Rowdy’s front leg to inject the radioactive cancer-fighting isotopes directly into the tumor. This innovative drill design was made possible in large part through the commitment of Stan Stearns, CEO of Valco Instruments Co. in Houston, and founder of The Gabriel Institute, who has donated millions of his personal funds toward research into cases such as Rowdy’s.
These tumors generally have a 90 percent fatality rate, and the current standard of care is to amputate the leg and follow with chemotherapy. Amputation of a leg is extremely limiting to an animal of this size. The procedure and recovery is very painful, and there is no guarantee of long-term success.
TIPS’ groundbreaking practice of using Naturally-Occurring Animal Models (animals that have developed the disease in question naturally) in their research is not only helpful to the participating animals, but is more predictive of how the disease will react in humans.
In addition to the possibility of eventually saving the lives of innumerable pets, this technology has enormous potential for future human treatment, as dog osteosarcoma tumors are 99 percent identical to those which occur in children.