University of Minnesota, research updates

Last week, we had the opportunity to catch up with Dr. Jaime Modiano about the current state of hemangiosarcoma research, and learned about some interesting topics that we'd like to share with our readers.

The first thing Dr. Modiano mentioned is that they are learning hemangiosarcoma is not just one disease, but many. He mentioned 3 subtypes that appear to behave differently in terms of how quickly they progress. The 3 subtypes he mentioned were:

  • inflammatory
  • angiogenic
  • adipogeic

The first 2 subtypes are much more common, and for that reason, more information is becoming available about them. Although the information is still preliminary, dogs with inflammatory hemangiosarcoma seem to have better odds of becoming long term survivors. Further research to confirm this observation could one day be beneficial for pet owners, since treatment decisions could be made based on which subtype of the disease their dog has, and could provide more realistic expectations around survivorship as well. This topic will be something I will read more about in the upcoming weeks, and potentially add a section to the website that will provide more details.

Another exciting update is that a company has licensed eBAT, a drug that was developed at the University of Minnesota and has been shown to improve survival time in dogs with hemangiosarcoma (see this research article for more info, where the drug was shown to improve "6-month survival from <40% in a comparison population to approximately 70%" ). This company will be testing the drug in new clinical trials, and we will be following up in the next few months to learn the outcomes of these studies.

Finally, the University of Minnesota's Shine On project, which aims to improve early detection of hemangiosarcoma, has entered Phase 3 of the study. The study is progressing as planned and we look forward to hearing whether or not the new blood test can be used to detect this cancer, and whether eBAT treatment might be an option to prevent the disease in dogs at risk.

So what's next for us? I've been a little less active on the website for the last couple of months, and taking a break during that time has helped with the healing process. But I know there are a lot of dogs and pet owners who could benefit from the resources we're putting together here, so I will be stepping up my involvement again in the upcoming weeks, reaching out to more researchers, putting together more pages (including one about stem cell research, which we have learned more about recently at the request of one of our readers), improving the existing content, and more. I appreciate everyone who has reached out to us, and my heart is with anyone who has been impacted by this disease.