Whenever the word “cancer” comes up, it can bring sense of finality and a lack of hope. It’s almost as if it’s a sentence and not a diagnosis–and for valid reasons. Cancer treatments can be very expensive. In some cases, it cannot even be cured, even if it can go into remission. Dog owners suffer the same dilemmas regarding their beloved pets. Start-up One Health Company hopes to alleviate this pain with its advancement in affordable precision cancer medicine for dogs.
One Health Company co-founder and CEO Christina Lopes hopes to use targeted therapies for humans reworked for dogs. What’s more, the company hopes to sell the treatment at a more affordable price to give pet owners access. The technology is said to be a genetic approach that will change the sequencing of the tumor. This will provide more targeted recommendations for therapies on how to attack the disease.
Fellow startups and investors in Silicon Valley have already shown their support. The start-up’s new medical project already obtained $5 million in funding. Its pet project is a dog sequencing panel, similar to the machines that create a guide for the tumors of human patients. This older technology could pinpoint specific therapies useful for patients.
Previously, treating cancer in dogs involved only one drug called Palladia. Veterinarians highly recommend and routinely use this medication. Currently, there are very few therapies and tools for a more targeted canine cancer approach, so this is breaking ground.
FidoCure’s Roots Hold Hope For Dogs With Cancer
Owners who want to get access to this innovative technology outside of clinical trials still have other options in the future. According to Lopes, the company is now looking at different payment business models or flat fees. It’s possible to offer these specialized therapies for as low as $1,500 for the duration of a dog’s lifespan. A year after its introduction for clinical trials, FidoCure has sequenced 60 dogs with cancer.
Based on observation, Lopes saw that pet owners, especially those in the Bay Area, treat dogs like family. They would pay over $30,000 for the dog’s cancer therapy while juggling their family’s own needs. Any new medicine that has a targeted approach to treatment and an affordable price tag is a welcome innovation.
Using Human Health As A Foundation
One Health Company came a long way in its research for canine health. By hinging on the growing trend of dogs and cats in clinical cancer trials, the company took advantage of the similar genetic makeup for pets in developing treatments. One Health Company was among the first to explore this path and use dog clinical trial data in finding specialized treatment for cancer.
“Companies are coming to us with trial ideas for everything from universal cancer vaccines to looking at biomarkers to predict which animals will and won’t respond to a given therapy,” said One Health Company co-founder Benjamin Lewis.
Comparing findings and allocating appropriate data to the specific population remains a work in progress. But this progress is proof of expanding the field of immuno-oncology even in pets.
What are your thoughts on sequencing tumors in dogs for a more targeted cancer therapy? Are you looking forward to more affordable cancer treatments for dogs? Let us know in the comments below!