A decade ago, we doubled down on our journey to conquer cancer in all species. It started as an idea with Meg O’Neil after her dog, Elway, was treated at the Flint Animal Cancer Center for bone cancer. It has grown into the national movement we call One Cure. With the help of countless One Cure friends, we’ve built a dedicated clinical trials team, advanced diagnostics, discovered better treatments, and forged new collaborations to move discoveries from pets to people.
Growing to serve more patients
Over the last ten years, our One Cure clinical trials program has grown from one doctor and one technician to five full-time staff, including Dr. Kristen Weishaar, director of the clinical trials program, two technicians, Kara Hall and Lindsay Carroll, clinical trials coordinator Allister Aradi, and a clinical trials intern.
“Thanks to generous friends, over the last decade, we’ve grown our team and, as a result, provide opportunities for more patients to receive novel therapies that have the potential to not only improve their outcomes but also help future patients, both pets and people,” said Weishaar. “As a cancer survivor, I’m thrilled with the work we’ve accomplished so far and look forward to the future.”
Providing hope for today and tomorrow
When Toby was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2019, his family was devastated. “We weren’t ready to say goodbye,” said Ali Knight, Toby’s mom.
Wanting to pursue treatment, the Knight family could have opted for standard chemotherapy. However, his veterinary oncologist suggested reaching out to the Flint Animal Cancer Center to learn more about clinical trials for dogs with lymphoma. After learning that Toby qualified for a trial, his family enrolled him in the CHOP Dose Escalation Study.
Toby finished his treatment protocol in February 2020. Since then, he returns for monthly check-ups and remains in remission. After each appointment, Knight breathes a sigh of relief
After 21 months, his mom is grateful for all the extra time and believes Toby got “the golden ticket.”
In addition to benefitting from a novel treatment approach, Toby has also helped inform how we might treat future patients with the same disease. Every patient teaches us something new in our quest to conquer cancer in all species.
Discoveries for pets and people
While rarer in people, bone cancer is nearly identical in dogs, and the treatment options are similar. Even after treatment, in almost 80 percent of canine patients, this cancer will spread, usually to the lungs. Once this happens historically we have had few treatment options to offer.
To tackle this challenge, Drs. Steve Dow and Dan Regan developed a combination drug therapy, which first showed promise in the lab and then in clinical trials with our patients at the Flint Animal Cancer Center. We were excited to see a meaningful response and shared our progress with colleagues at Children’s Hospital Colorado. The data was compelling and offered new hope for the first time in decades for children with bone cancer metastasized to the lungs.
Thanks to generous support from One Cure friends, this combination therapy is now in Phase 2 clinical trials at Children’s Hospital Colorado and Atlanta Children’s Hospital.
More work ahead
The road to a cure for cancer is a marathon, not a sprint. Every patient, every clinical trial, every cell studied in the lab brings us one step closer. It will take collective resources, but together we will find a cure. To join the effort, please consider a gift to One Cure. Every donation makes a difference.