You may have seen him recently on 60 Minutes. John Kanzius, himself a cancer patient, has developed a machine that uses radio waves to kill cancer cells. While it has not yet been widely tested on animals or tested at all in humans, it does show promise. What struck me the most about this machine is the fact that the treatment is so specific to cancer cells, that it does not cause any peripheral damage to tissue and results in no side effects. So, I immediately thought about how amazing this treatment could be for our canine friends. One of the blessings and curses of canine cancer treatment is the fact that quality of life comes first and foremost…often at the expense of cure. Because we don’t want our companion animals suffering to the extent that humans do when going through chemotherapy or extensive radiation therapy, we lower the doses and provide less aggressive treatments. While this is certainly the most loving and ONLY ethical way to approach canine cancer treatments, it usually means that our dogs will not have the same outcomes and life expectancy as humans with the same type of cancer. Lymphoma specifically comes to mind, as this is now a very treatable and often cureable form of cancer in humans. Dogs with lymphoma only have an average life expectance of a little more than a year though because their treatment protocol is much milder.
So, how amazing would it be to finally have a cancer treatment available with minimal or no side effects, and which could be given to our pups at full strength? Right now, the Kanzius machine is only designed to work with localized tumors, making it a great possibility for killing tumors in areas where surgery isn’t an option. They are looking for ways to apply it to systemic cancers like lymphoma, but that is even further in the future. Keep hoping, and fighting the good fight.
For more information about the Kanzius Machine and the John Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation, visit: http://www.johnkanziuscancerresearchfoundation.org/.