The Blue Buffalo Veterinary Clinical Trials Office (BBVCTO) at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine is celebrating its second year of partnership, making it possible to support studies of novel therapies that improve the health of both animals and people.

“Our partnership with Blue Buffalo has made it possible for us to provide support for studies that test new diagnostic tests and treatments across a wide spectrum of pet health including cancer, renal failure, heart disease and arthritis,” said Cheryl London, DVM, PhD, director of the Clinical Trials Office and professor of veterinary biosciences. “Clinical trials in veterinary medicine are critical for identifying new approaches to more effectively detect and treat diseases in the pets we love. They also have the added benefit of advancing outcomes for people with similar diseases.”

In the past year, the BBVCTO assisted with the design and management of over 30 clinical trials, enabling 300 client-owned pets to participate in studies which provide hope for extending the ;lives of dogs and cats through advanced treatments.

“Our relationship with Ohio State brings to life Blue Buffalo’s philosophy of giving back and supporting innovative studies that enhance the health and well-being of dogs and cats,” said David Petrie, president of the Blue Buffalo Foundation. “In supporting clinical trials research, we’re able to advance veterinary medicine and improve patient care for both humans and animals.”

Providing hope to pet parents

The BBVCTO supervises clinical trials involving client-owned dogs and cats. Much like human clinical trials, pets continue to live with their families during these studies with the ultimate goal of finding new therapies, diagnostic tests and medical devices that will improve animal health.

Pet parents work closely with veterinary researchers during the trials. In the past year, more than 300 patients enrolled, advancing care and in many cases, extending the lives of cherished family pets. In most clinical trials, a portion or all of the costs associated with the diagnosis and treatment of the patient are covered.

Julie Schultz’s boxer-shepherd mix “Fritz” was favoring his front leg and an x-ray showed it was osteosarcoma, the most common bone cancer found in dogs. Her veterinarian suggested she look to Ohio State’s Veterinary Medical Center for a clinical trial. Fritz was accepted into a clinical trial and responded well to treatment. A little more than a year later Fritz is an active and happy dog.

“We are so grateful Fritz was able to enroll in clinical trial,” Schultz explained. “It’s a comfort to know we’ve extended his life and been able to influence treatments that will benefit other dogs.”

Clinical trials impacting human treatments

Many naturally occurring cancers in cats and dogs can serve as models for human disease. Comparative oncology, the study of this connection, allows pets to take actively contribute in the fight against cancer. The BBVCTO works closely with research partners at the Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James), to identify unique opportunities to guide cancer treatments.

Jared Sylvester, who was treated for osteosarcoma when he was 21, first learned about the comparative oncology program from his oncologic orthopedic surgeon, who often collaborates on studies with the College of Veterinary Medicine. 

“Both pets and people benefit from comparative oncology clinical trials,” Sylvester said. “Dogs and cats have access to cutting-edge cancer treatments and it helps ensure that human patients like me are given treatments that are more likely to be successful. Without owners like Julie and pet heroes like Fritz all of the advancements we’ve been making in comparative oncology studies would not be possible. Thank you to all of you for helping to save lives like mine every day.”

For more information about the Blue Buffalo Veterinary Clinical Trials Office and study eligibility, visit http://vet.osu.edu/vmc/cto.