Medical Minute 2-1: Saving Pets. Saving People. Tackline Tumors

By: Ramin Khalili Email
By: Ramin Khalili Email

Two dogs, one cat, a couple of veterinarians and a neurosurgeon are all part of a team that may find new medicines for a very painful and deadly disease in people and pets.

"She had the most amazing uncontrolled thirst," said Lynn Rainker in talking about her dog Maggie.

These animals suffer from Cushing's disease. Both people and pets with Cushing's develop tumors, diabetes, high blood pressure, weight gain, and weakened bones.

Without treatment, it's fatal. But surgery to remove the pituitary tumor in animals is almost impossible.

"The reason the procedure was so difficult, was because you couldn't see the area to be operated on," said Adam Mamelak, M.D., Neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Los Angeles, CA.

Dr. Mamelak was part of a team at Cedars-Sinai that modified this HD surgical imaging device they created for their patients, to help veterinary surgeons see the tumor in animals. Not only can surgeons remove the tumor, saving the animals, but then researchers take the dog's tumor, create a model, compare it to the humans, and then test therapies that can benefit both.

"We have made some early discoveries that are already beginning to translate into potential clinical therapies for dogs, and hopefully down the line into people," said Adam Mamelak, M.D.

Nine dogs are alive and happy today, and even one cat. It's a double reward, saving pets and saving people.

For More Information, Contact:Sandy Van Director of Media Relations, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Departments of Neurosurgery and Neurology808.526.1708sandy@prpacific.com


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