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A Golden Retriever Seen On TV Funds A Potential New Hemangiosarcoma Vaccine.

a golden retriever named Scout laying down on an event of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary
Scout photographed an event at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary in January 2020

Scout, the star of a 30-second commercial during the 2020 Super Bowl, inspired animal lovers worldwide by sharing his hemangiosarcoma journey alongside the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.

After the commercial aired, donations to support the School of Veterinary Medicine's efforts to achieve better diagnosis techniques, cancer treatment and prevention, and identify new drugs and treatments surpassed the million dollars.

The immense generosity of viewers made possible the purchase of a cutting-edge radiation therapy system called Radixact, making UW Veterinary Care the only medical hospital to offer treatment that targets tumors in hard-to-reach areas and spares healthy tissue more confidently and accurately.

The new system also provides real-time, adaptive motion tracking of tumors. It opens new treatment opportunities for cancers in the abdomen and thorax — including lung, heart, liver, and kidney tumors — where the proximity of vital organs and other sensitive tissues made radiation therapy previously difficult or impossible. A recent upgrade to the Radixact system allows for faster optimization of radiation plans, making them more efficient for quick treatment plans for urgent, critical cases.

The contribution also allowed the hospital to hire additional clinical trial interns to pursue new goals and meet client demand for trial participation - UWM oncologists see thousands of patient visits annually while being world-renowned for advancing clinical treatments for cancer in animals.

The funding also allowed a new approach to research for hemangiosarcoma, with the school conducting a two-year vaccination clinical trial led by David Vail, a professor of comparative oncology. The vaccine will target 40 antigens - molecular recognition markers - found in the disease. In the words of Dr. Vail, the vaccine will train the dog's immune system to recognize these markers and to seek out and destroy spreading hemangiosarcoma cancer cells left behind after surgery and chemotherapy.

This golden retriever legacy helped highlight the importance of veterinary medicine for animals and humans since the bidirectional flow of findings for both is a fundamental goal to raise the current standard for cancer care and to solve recurrence and metastasis in the near future. The UW School of Veterinary Medicine keeps making an impact in advancing innovative therapies for cancer and other devastating diseases.


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