HOW CAN I ENSURE MY PATIENTS ARE GOOD CANDIDATES?
Developing good habits can greatly facilitate offering clinical trials to pet owners. Many trials will exclude pets that have
had certain treatments, and some require that a mass be measurable for enrollment. Examples include avoiding prednisone (unless
medically necessary) until trials have been discussed for lymphoma and considering taking an incisional biopsy first (instead
of removing everything possible at the time of biopsy) of solid tumors such as oral melanoma or sarcomas to confirm the diagnosis.
Once a diagnosis is obtained, trials can be identified and further treatment can be planned properly. While imaging tests
may be repeated at the clinical trials center, bloodwork often can determine basic eligibility and sometimes does not need
to be repeated for trial enrollment.
HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT OPEN TRIALS?
While many veterinarians may have good intentions, it can be challenging to stay abreast of the current clinical trials. Each
trial involves a novel and unfamiliar therapy, and it takes time to digest the ins and outs, the why and how, and the benefits
and requirements of a trial. A central database for veterinary clinical trials has been developed at
http://vetcancertrials.org/, which is available and in the process of being populated. Through this site, pet owners, referring veterinarians or support
staff, or others may search by species, tumor type, and location. If there are questions about the use or content of the site,
please contact me at email@example.com
In addition to this site, many academic centers maintain trial information on individual websites. The Comparative Oncology
Trials Consortium initiates clinical trials intended to evaluate promising treatments for people with cancer first in dogs
with spontaneous cancer. At a minimum, practitioners should contact the closest veterinary oncologist and academic institution
to request a list of current trials on a regular basis, perhaps quarterly. Even if veterinarians are not abreast of clinical
trial updates, resources can be provided for the owners to investigate details. These points and resources will help facilitate
the discussion with pet owners when cancer is diagnosed.
Kim A. Selting, DVM, MS, DACVIM (oncology)
Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Missouri Columbia, MO 65211