A cancer patient with true grit

Sasha could surprise you.  She probably spent time in a hospital only for amputation of a leg from bone cancer:


In case you have trouble with the link, Sasha is claimed to be a twelve and a half-year-old American bulldog but she sure doesn’t look like any bulldog I am familiar with.

Three-legged Sasha runs, jumps, swims and catches frisbees which beats our two younger lunkheads who just watch a frisbie sail off, go to inspect it, chew it a bit and then wander off to fight and fool around.

Our 4-year-old, 106 lb. black German Shepherd only scares the wits out of people like the vet’s helpers [I would be frightened too BTW if I didn’t know him].   My wife promised to hold Coal tight while he was given a shot in the rump so he wouldn’t be muzzled.  She said the aide still seemed to be afraid Coal might kick or something.  Sure hope Coal doesn’t get none of that osteosarcoma.  Might be tough getting Coal into a study in an egghead university.

Truth be told Sasha’s prospects aren’t excellent.  One of four dogs in the clinical trial was sent off to dog heaven when the cancer metastasized to the lungs and other bones.  All got a low dose and aren’t eligible for Phase II [mean old investigators want the study to continue with the low dose] or Phase III or any Phase IV.  But inferior humans have done pretty well with low dose.

Be years yet before we will know if any such drug is good enough to be injected in cancer and other patients on an outpatient basis but it sure is pleasant to contemplate compared to the cutting, burning and poisoning of patients.

Obama has talked of shortening the gawdawfully long, expensive and torturous trial process and his appointees seem to be making some small progress in that. The primary enemies are mostly journalists and Nader-type liberals who sensationalize with reason to patients than help to afflicted rather than the usual suspects, Big Pharma.  

Coal, being the same breed as the top war dogs of all time – German Shepherds – should be used to the front lines but others are just collateral.  Veterinary medicine has a skeleton clinical trial system that tends to be much swifter to market than human trials.

Vast fortunes can be made with new and better drugs and for some that is all that matters.

But not for all.

In the hospital where I met my wife long ago, there were trials of a treatment for juvenile leukemia.  Diagnosis of juvenile leukemia was a certain death sentence for which there was no reprieve at the time.  “We are going to cure that sucker,”  a doctor told a callow youth.  Yeah, right, I thought.  

By golly, the doctor [and lots of other doctors and hospitals and researchers and scientists] dunnit.  At least for most little kids.

Sometimes life can be grand.  Even for dogs.

Best,  Terry

1 comment

  1. terryhallinan

    There was a therapeutic vaccine for surface cancers used on racehorses long ago that worked well enough to be approved but was a market bust.  Too much trouble.  Too expensive.

    In reality the vaccine was only an adjuvant, a kind of poison meant to energize the immune system. An immunogen is used to direct the immune system to the appropriate target in a true vaccine.

    The horses were largely a kind of guinea pig.  Lady informed me about her stud horse that had been treated long ago and got to spend a long life with the lady horses in high grass.

    Not always bad being the subject of medical experimentation as long as it isn’t a Dick Cheney-type doing it.

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