New treatment of brain tumors in dogs




Every year, 4 million people are diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. The average life expectancy of these patients is less than a year. The number of patients that are yearly diagnosed with brain tumors and the life expectancy of these patients are comparable between humans and dogs. In addition, many similarities exist between the brain structure and tumor characteristics between humans and dogs. In both species, the current treatment options like surgery and radiation therapy rarely result in curation and these are often accompanied by significant side-effects.


Minimally invasive treatment

A new minimally invasive treatment option for brain tumors has been developed subsidized by the Dutch Research Council and in collaboration between the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University and the Radboud University Medical Center (Radboudumc) Nijmegen. This treatment option consists of neuro-navigated needle-injections of radioactive holmium microspheres into the tumor using image-guidance (MRI and CT). Using neuronavigation and image-guidance during the administration procedure ensures accurate administration of the microspheres into the tumor, which is essential in the treatment of brain tumors. With this minimally invasive treatment approach, the applied radiation dose in the tumor can be higher than conventional radiation therapy without damaging the surrounding or healthy tissue, thereby minimizing the potential side-effects.


Unique treatment


The past years, dozens of dogs and cats with solid tumors (originating from bone, soft tissue and the oral cavity among others) were treated at the Small Animal Clinic Utrecht by intratumoral injection holmium microspheres. In most of the treated animals, a significant reduction of the tumor volume was observed accompanied by an increased life span and improved quality of life. These results led to the experimental treatment of humans with head and neck tumors in the University Medical Center Utrecht. 


The current study 

In the current study at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University, we are investigating the feasibility and efficacy of this new minimally invasive treatment option using radioactive holmium microspheres to treat dogs with brain tumors. We aim to increase the life expectancy and quality of life. These results will also be used to develop a similar treatment option for human patients with brain tumors.

For more information about the study and which patients are eligible, click here


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