Study focused on improving radiation treatment for cancers in pet dogs

Can scientists improve cancer treatment for man’s best friend?

A UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher and his colleagues have been awarded a five-year, $3.2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to investigate how to improve radiation treatment for dogs undergoing treatment for sarcoma.

UNC Lineberger’s Paul A. Dayton, PhD, a professor in the UNC & N.C. State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, and a multi-institutional team of researchers are studying whether non-toxic, oxygen-filled bubbles can help overcome problems of low oxygen, or “tumor hypoxia,” which can make a tumor less responsive to radiation therapy. They hope their findings could ultimately shine light on whether their strategy could also improve radiation treatment for people.

“Because of their dysfunctional blood supply, cancer cells are hypoxic, and when cancer cells have a low oxygen supply, they are not as responsive to radiation,” Dayton said. “We are investigating whether we can deliver tiny, oxygen-filled microbubbles directly to tumors to get better outcomes from radiation.”

The clinical trial will be conducted in collaboration with the N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine, the Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Duke University. The dogs can receive


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