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Dr. Chand Khanna and Ethos Discovery Are Eager to Find A Cure For Hemangiosarcoma

a veterinarian checking a little dog in a consulting room
Dr.Chand Khanna with a patient. Photo by Liz Lynch

Ethos Discovery, a non-profit incubator for research and clinical studies focused on providing improved diagnostics and treatments to lead to a cure for complex conditions like cancer, is one of the leaders in researching hemangiosarcoma in dogs, with ample current and upcoming studies on their program.

The whole exchange encircles two grand ideas, one being to imprint more hope around the condition from their approach to deliver new knowledge for trials, and the second about identifying new drugs believed to deliver curative outcomes for subgroups of dogs suffering the disease. Dr. Khanna, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Oncology), DACVP (Hon), explains how the clinical trial Ethos-PUSH - a nationwide, 400-dog study - started as a way to challenge the idea that the disease is universally aggressive.

One of the highlights revealed in the development of the study is the now-outdated belief that leads to euthanasia in dogs with splenic tumor rupture. With hemangiosarcoma being a disease of malignant blood vessel cells, the idea of a splenic tumor in older, larger breed dogs being always malignant - with the addition of surgery being risky for them - was completely reversed. Adding the pressure of the state of emergency and a considerably expensive procedure that can't guarantee the family a good prognosis beforehand, euthanasia tends to be the by-the-book recommendation. Still, the study showed that 95% of the older, larger dogs walk out of splenectomy doing perfectly fine, with a 50% chance of the tumor being benign and solved with the surgery.

The second monumental discovery of the study was about using molecular tools to uncover that hemangiosarcoma is not one disease but a group of -at least - four different flavors of disease that need to be treated with a specific combination of drugs and treatments instead of ministering all diagnosed dogs with the same verbatim therapy. They are focusing on learning how to match those flavors with the appropriate blend to deliver curative outcomes for dogs. Another interesting observation is that not all those flavors of the disease are awful: 30% of the selection of dogs in the study do well at 12 months after surgery.

They're also exploring reverting the idea that a second episode of bleeding in dogs with a malignant tumor 100 days after surgery is attached to cancer getting worse since some dogs have a biological risk of bleeding again. Dr. Khanna expresses the need to treat the bleeding separately from the tumor to get the dog back to stability. They also hope, in the future, to identify new drugs to treat those dogs at risk of a second episode of bleeding.

Dr. Khanna expresses the importance that information like this doesn't go around only to veterinarians but also goes to people committed to dog health: it's helpful to have informed pet owners in the room, challenging the veterinarian to react to the newest information.

The information-packed webinar is available on Vetvine, and to know more about the ETHOS project and the fantastic benefits of signing dogs to their clinical trials, you can visit their website.


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