New hope for animals with cancer
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jan Williams, College of Veterinary Medicine, 612-624-6228
Linear accelerator offers new options for animals with cancer
New facility opens at U of M
Ribbon-cutting event: August 21, 7 p.m.
MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (August 17, 2007) – On August 21, the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center will unveil a new linear accelerator facility, becoming one of the only veterinary hospitals in the Upper Midwest to offer state-of-the-art radiation therapy to animals with cancer.
“Each year, thousands of dogs and cats in Minnesota and our neighboring states are diagnosed with cancer, and their owners are faced with very difficult decisions,” said Dr. David Lee, Veterinary Medical Center director. “With the linear accelerator, our veterinarians will be able to provide leading-edge cancer treatment.”
The linear accelerator replaces cobalt radiation equipment used to treat cancer patients for nearly 25 years. Identical to the linear accelerators used in human radiation treatment, it allows veterinary cancer specialists to map tumors in three dimensions and focus radiation on cancerous lesions, minimizing the impact to surrounding healthy tissue.
The linear accelerator is also a key element in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s comparative cancer research program.
“Comparative cancer research involves the study of cancer in one species with the goal of applying the lessons learned to other species,” said Dr. Robert Washabau, chair of the college’s Veterinary Clinical Sciences Department. “Cancer in animals is very similar to cancer in humans, both in cause and in response to therapy. Our research will benefit both animals and humans.”
Key features of the linear accelerator include:
- Ability to adjust the strength of the proton beam to customize the treatment of deep masses
- A computerized tool called a multileaf collimator, which uses information from treatment planning software to automatically shield normal adjacent tissue from radiation, thereby lessening the treatment impact to surrounding healthy tissues
- Electron capability, which will allow treatment of skin masses while protecting deeper tissues from exposure
A fund-raising campaign, “Accelerating Hope,” is underway to offset the cost of this new technology so it can benefit as many animals as possible. Corporate and private donations are being accepted by the College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Minnesota Foundation. For more information, contact Katharine Anderson, development officer, at 612-626-2343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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