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  Home > Current Clinical Trials > Canine Brain Tumor Research

Canine Brain Tumor Research

Canine Brain Tumor Clinical Trials Program


Investigator: G. Elizabeth Pluhar, DVM, PhD
Eligible cases: Dogs with glioma or meningioma, as seen on MRI
Contact Info: Dr. Pluhar at 612-625-1162,

The goal of the Canine Brain Tumor Clinical Trial Program is to offer cutting edge therapy to dogs intended to preserve quality of life and improve long-term survival rates. Additionally, we will use the information gained from treating dogs to design similar treatments for people with brain tumors. The majority of the cost associated with these experimental brain tumor therapies is paid for by grants from foundation and government agencies including the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund, the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, the American Brain Tumor Association and the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation.

We have treated over 150 dogs, and are still collecting data to be able to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the therapies. However, we have found that dogs with low grade glioma respond well to the combination of surgery and immunotherapy, and we are prolonging the disease free interval for dogs with high grade glioma while providing an excellent quality of life.

Overview of studies:

Glioma trials: There are several different treatments being compared, including: Surgery and chemotherapy, surgery/vaccine therapy,  surgery/gene therapy and combinations of the three. The study is blinded, meaning neither the investigator nor the owner will know which treatment a dog is to receive. General visits include the surgery stay, recheck at 2-3 months, rechecks at 6 months and at 12 months. If all the visits are at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center, the costs are covered by the study.

Meningioma study: This is a randomized, blinded study of surgery and vaccine treatment vs surgery alone. There are several visits over a year period for this study. Costs are covered except for the first $2500, for which the owner is responsible.

How to participate:

We have people coming from near and far to participate in these studies. If you are in the local area, we will be happy to see you through the Neurology service for diagnosis and MRI. For all interested, see the steps below.

  1. Your veterinarian can use the link to the right to request enrollment of a dog in a trial: "Apply for Brain Tumor Clinical Trials Program", or you may contact Dr. Pluhar directly (see above).
  2. In order to determine if the tumor is operable and fits the study, Dr. Pluhar needs to see the tumor on MRI.
  • If you live near the Veterinary Medical Center (VMC), your dog can have the MRI here. Please call 612-626-8387 to request an appointment with the Neurology Service to schedule this.
  • From other locations, please obtain an MRI at a Neurology clinic in your area. Once complete, we would like a copy of the images and report sent here, or if the Neurology clinic can do a 'DICOM' transfer, we will accept that (if the clinic can do this, they will know what that means). Please have them contact the CIC for instructions. To send by mail or FedEx, please use this address:

    Dr. Liz Pluhar
    College of Veterinary Medicine
    1352 Boyd Ave.
    339 VMC
    St. Paul, MN 55108




    3. Once Dr. Pluhar reviews the images, she will be in touch with the owner or veterinarian with the next steps

To contribute:

We are always happy to accept charitable donations to help further our research efforts. (See sidebar for more on Batman, first case enrolled in these trials.) To donate to the research effort, click here and select “new gift” then designate the gift is for the “CVM canine brain tumor clinical trials” effort. Or you can contact Bill Venne, chief development officer, at 612-625-8480 or


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