(02/13/14) - Ancient Chinese Mushrooms and dogs are two things you might never
think to mix, but together they may pave the way to a new cancer treatment
Life without their dog max would be unimaginable for the Walter family.
"He is very sweet. He's a good, good buddy," says Max's human mom, Christy.
When Max was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer of the spleen known as Hemangiosarcoma, Christy says, "it was very hard."
Then Max's vet shared the grim news, "this is how long he has. He has one to two months. There's a trial you can try."
Max enrolled in a new clinical trial at the University of Pennsylvania's Penn-Vet Center. They are testing an ancient Chinese mushroom.
"This could be really, really major," says Dr. Dorothy Cimino-Brown.
Researchers found dogs treated with a compound from the Yun-zhi mushroom, known as PSP, had the longest survival times ever reported for dogs with the deadly disease. Going from a maximum two-months with no treatment, to several dogs living over a year with only the mushroom as a treatment.
"What we saw was so unexpected and so dramatic and the potential implications of it are huge," Cimino-Brown says.
The results with dogs could one day help humans also fight cancer.
For now, the Walter's are just thankful for their extra time with Max, "and good time, quality time, not he's lying there sick time."
Researchers were so surprised with the results of the first study that they actually went back and looked at the biopsies to make sure the dogs had this deadly spleen cancer to begin with.
There are products with PSP on the market for human and animal consumption, but researchers caution that, since they are supplements, they are not regulated by the FDA.
ABC12 Main Station