Canine Cancer Drug Approved

 |  Jun 4th 2009  |   6 Contributions


A drug by Pfizer to treat canine mast cell tumors has just been approved by the FDA. This is fantastic news and a huge step forward when it comes to treating these type of tumors, which account for about 20% of canine skin cancers.

NEW YORK, June 3 (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc's (PFE.N) efforts to develop new cancer drugs have yielded a breakthrough -- for dogs.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first cancer treatment specifically designed to treat dogs, Pfizer and the agency announced on Wednesday.

The drug Palladia was approved to treat canine mast cell tumors, a potentially serious type of cancer that accounts for about 20 percent of canine skin tumors, and one that can spread to other parts of the body, including lymph nodes, if not treated.

All cancer drugs now used in veterinary medicine originally were developed for use in humans and are not specifically approved for use in animals, the FDA said.

"This cancer drug approval for dogs is an important step forward for veterinary medicine," Bernadette Dunham, director of FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in a statement.

"Prior to this approval, veterinarians had to rely on human oncology drugs without knowledge of how safe or effective they would be for dogs," she said.

Pfizer said it would begin selling Palladia in early 2010, but will make the oral drug available to certain veterinary oncology specialists prior to that.

Palladia works by killing tumor cells and by cutting off the blood supply to the tumor.

The pill must be taken every other day and the dog will likely have to be on the therapy for several months or longer, depending on tumor response, Pfizer said.

The cost for this treatment has not yet been divulged. Since treatments for humans trying new cancer drugs can run into the tens of thousands hopefully it will be made more affordable for canines.

It is estimated by Pfizer Animal Health that 1.2 million new canine cancer cases are reported in the United States every year.

* Dr. Dachshund ready to serve.

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