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News

New oncologist at Veterinary School offers innovative cancer treatment options

University Of Wisconsin-Madison : 22 June, 2005  (Technical Article)
Dr. Ruthanne Chun, a clinical veterinary oncologist who joined the staff this month of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, is dedicated to finding new and better ways to treat animals with cancer.
Dr. Chun works with biological response modifiers, which help the body recognize and destroy cancer cells. She explains that this is similar to chemotherapy, but much more targeted. 'I work exclusively with animals that have naturally-occurring tumors,' she says.

'Quality of life is always the foremost consideration,' she adds. But in addition to routine treatments, the university environment offers her an opportunity to evaluate new methods that may yield better future results. And because the types of tumors that occur naturally in dogs and cats are similar to those that occur in humans, her work may benefit people, too.

Owners of animals diagnosed with cancer are offered all the options by veterinary medicine staff, including no treatment at all. 'I give the owner an idea of what can be expected from known therapies,' Dr. Chun says. 'I'll also inform them if a clinical trial is available, but will point out that we don't know how effective the treatment is.'

Often, funding is available for these trials, which makes them more attractive for owners. The knowledge that their pet may help evaluate a treatment that holds potential of helping many more animals in the future also appeals to many.

'We have a huge opportunity to help future dogs and cats and people,' says Dr. Chun, who specializes in cancers that affect the bladder, bone and blood vessels. 'Pet and human cancers often have the same signs and same (symptoms).'

Dr. Chun is board certified in oncology by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Before coming to Wisconsin, she was an associate professor at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, where she earned the Norden Teaching Award in 2004.
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