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A Drug That Inhibits Human Cancer May Help Slow Hemangiosarcoma Down


Nicola Mason B.Vet.Med, Ph.D., DACVIM (Internal Medicine), FCPP, MRCVS, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine is leading a clinical trial investigating the safety and efficacy of copanlisib, a phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor, as a potential new treatment to slow the growth and spread of metastatic splenic hemangiosarcoma.



a dog waiting to take medicine




Copanlisib is a chemotherapy drug used to inhibit the growth and spread of many human cancers, such as follicular lymphoma. As mentioned in this 2022 article by the American Animal Hospital Association, researchers at Penn Vet have determined that approximately 50% of all canine splenic hemangiosarcoma cases contain a mutation in the PI3K gene. In vitro studies using canine cell lines, including hemangiosarcoma cells, have demonstrated a fair response to PI3K inhibitors.


Despite the promising outcomes, Copanlisib, like other chemotherapeutic drugs, carries risks of toxicity on the gastrointestinal tract and liver as acquired resistance of cancer cells. Future studies may test copanlisib in combination with others to avoid resistance.


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