When the UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s Neurology and Neurosurgery service saw Petey, a 7-year-old Pit Bull, for the first time in early September 2011, things were looking grim. He had recently started to have seizures and mentation changes. The news grew even worse after an MRI showed the cause: Petey had a brain tumor.
Following an evaluation, neurologist Dr. Simon Platt and resident Dr. Courtenay Freeman realized Petey would be an ideal candidate for a clinical trial being conducted in collaboration with Emory University and funded by the Boo Radley Foundation. The clinical trial is investigating delivery of a medication (Cetuximab) by an infusion method called convection-enhanced delivery (CED) after surgical removal of most of the tumor. This same treatment may be effective for humans with brain tumors.
Petey’s owner, Alexander Frame, consented to the clinical trial, and on Sept. 15, 2011, Petey underwent surgery to remove a significant portion of the large tumor. Immediately following surgery, Petey received a single dose of Cetuximab through CED catheters that were inserted and attached to external pumps to deliver the medicine. The medication was infused into the brain to target residual tumor cells.
A follow-up MRI performed six weeks after surgery showed marked reduction in tumor size and continued presence of medication in his brain. By then, Petey had returned to normal and had not had any more seizures.
A follow-up MRI about four months after surgery showed further reduction in the size of the tumor, said Dr. Platt. Now, more than a year after surgery, Petey remains seizure-free.
"Petey is doing quite well! He's back to being his old self, and to look at him you'd never know what he's been through!" his owner, Alexander Frame, told us in August 2012. "I can say that we are very thankful for having Petey with us an entire year after his surgery!"
Note: Petey lost his battle against brain cancer on March 3, 2014. His participation in this clinical trial gave Petey and his owners more than two additional years together, and offer the hope that one day humans who suffer from gliomas may also have more time with their loved ones. Thank you, Petey.
March 2014, Fox News Atlanta: Petey lost his battle against cancer on March 3, 2014.
November 2013, Fox News Atlanta: Petey's Last MRI
June 2013, Ivanhoe Broadcast News: Ivanhoe's Medical Breakthroughs series looks at Petey's treatment and what it may mean for other dogs, and for humans, too
May 8, 2013, Atlanta Magazine: Man's best lab partner: Dogs helpful in medical research
February 8, 2013, Fox News Atlanta: Pit bull's treatment could aid humans with brain tumors
January 18, 2013, Emory Press Release: Man's best friend helping man: Canine trial tests novel medication for brain tumors