by Lauren Dubinsky
, Senior Reporter | April 24, 2018
Since the Focused Ultrasound Foundation launched its veterinary program in November, it has supported multiple trials investigating the use of FU to treat cancer and promote wound healing in pets.
“New therapies are often slow to make their way into veterinary medicine, leaving veterinarians frustrated with the lack of options for their patients,” Kelsie Timbie, the director of the program, said in a statement. “We feel focused ultrasound could meet a critical need in veterinary medicine by both expanding and improving treatment for a range of conditions.”
A study underway at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech is investigating the use of FU to treat sarcomas and mast cell tumors in dogs. FU is being used to noninvasively destroy tumors and stimulate the dogs’ immune system to fight the cancer on its own.
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Another study is in the works at the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences to evaluate the use of FU to treat soft tumors in both dogs and cats.
A dog named Oreo developed a growth on his lower right limb that biopsy proved to be plasmacytoma. The owners were given a choice to have Oreo treated with traditional methods like surgery and/or radiation or to have him participate in the FU clinical trial.
Oklahoma State is also working on another study that’s investigating the ability of FU to speed up wound healing. To do this, the research team will use FU to treat hygromas, which develop when persistent pressure on a bony joint causes significant swelling and infection.
The team’s hypothesis is that FU will reduce the bacterial infections while also improving the local delivery and therapeutic effects of antibiotics. They believe that combined approach will greatly improve healing time and prevent infection recurrence.
These trials will certainly improve veterinary medicine, but they also have implications for human applications. Dr. Neal F. Kassell, chairman of the FU Foundation, explained that the experience obtained using FU in pets can be used to accelerate the adoption of the technology for human applications.