U of M cancer drug shows promise with dogs; human trials may be next

Researchers tested the drug on a canine cancer very similar to a human one called angiosarcoma.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota say a cancer drug developed on campus has shown "breakthrough" results in trials on dogs. They're hopeful it will lead to a version of the drug that can be tested on humans with a similarly rare and aggressive cancer.

The study published in a scientific journal Monday says dogs with an incurable cancer called canine HSA had improved survival rates when they were treated with the new drug.

Jamie Modiano, a co-author of the study who teaches at both the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Masonic Cancer Center, says “This is likely the most significant advance in the treatment of canine HSA in the last three decades.”

The canine cancer

HSA is a deadly cancer that invades a dog's blood vessels. It leads to tumors that can show up in any of several organs, the National Canine Cancer Foundation explains, especially the spleen, heart, skin, or liver.

The U of M says normally half of the dogs diagnosed with HSA die within six months. For dogs in the trial of the drug called eBAT, the six month survival rate was 70 percent and five of the 23 dogs lived for 15 months.

The dogs were of various breeds, both large and small, and all of them had HSA of the spleen, the university says.

The human cancer: angiosarcoma

The university's researchers (including the study's lead author, Antonella Borgatti, of the veterinary college and senior author Daniel Vallera of the medical school and the Masonic Cancer Center) say canine HSA is remarkably similar to the human cancer angiosarcoma.

Both have usually spread before they're diagnosed and so the survival time is very short.

A sarcoma is a kind of cancer that grows in connective tissues like tendons, cartilage, or nerves.

Angiosarcoma – just like HSA – attacks the blood vessels.

The U of M says the results of the eBAT trials on dogs make a strong case for translating the drug to a form that can be tried on humans.

“This drug was invented, developed, manufactured, and tested and showed positive results at the University of Minnesota. We would also like this drug to achieve positive outcomes for humans here,” Modiano said.

Next Up

Andrew Thomas booking photo

8 years in prison for man charged with shooting at National Guard

He was accused of firing multiple shots at soldiers patrolling Minneapolis.

Facebook - semi crash july 30 2021 Hwy 212 - Chaska Police Department

'Large crash' involving semi-truck on Highway 212 in Chaska

Police are warning motorists about long delays.

Fairmont Raceway

Fairmont Raceway admits 'bad mistake,' announcer on leave after racist comments

The raceway promoter initially backed Len Oelke, but has now apologized.

Smoke and haze Minneapolis

Air quality still bad on Friday as wildfire smoke continues to blanket MN

The smoky haze will continue till at least Friday afternoon.


Maple Grove man defrauded PPP of $1.7M, used some to install pool

The 47-year-old pleaded guilty in federal court.

Ricky Rubio

Report: Timberwolves trade Ricky Rubio to Cleveland

Rubio's homecoming in Minnesota lasted just one season.

Tim Walz - YouTube - Screengrab

Gov. Walz: Newly-vaccinated Minnesotans will get $100

The incentive was announced shortly after President Biden announced the initiative.

Flickr - USPS post office mail truck - Paul Sableman

Man who attacked Oakdale postal worker gets 18 months in prison

He was accused of hopping over the counter and repeatedly punching the employee.

Wikimedia COmmons - Sierra store - Steve Morgan

Off-price retail store Sierra will open a St. Cloud location

It is the brand's first Minnesota store outside the Twin Cities.

Motzko and Schuneman

Driver in crash that killed Motzko, Schundeman released from custody

Authorities say he was driving during the crash that killed Sam Schuneman and Mack Motzko.


Dental practice fired manager because she was too old, investigation finds

The business has agreed to a $54,000 settlement with the employee.


Drug developed at U of M 'incredibly potent' in killing pancreatic cancer

Tumors that attack the pancreas are among the most lethal cancers. But a drug developed at the University of Minnesota has been used to kill those tumors in mice and could be tested on humans soon. The drug is made from a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine called the Thunder God Vine.

U of M research may lead to earlier detection of autism

A computer program based on the research was 80 percent accurate in predicting who'd be diagnosed with autism.

There's a push to track the cancer cases of U.S. firefighters

At the national and state levels there are bills to create registries to keep track of firefighters' cancer cases.

Who pays for sex in MN? U of M study brings answers

The research will help the fight against human trafficking.

Special skin made by the U of M lets robots feel like humans

The sensors could be used on surgical robots to help doctors.