Petey the Pit Bull is from Alpharetta, Georgia. He was the first dog in the country to try a new experimental treatment for brain tumors.
In 2011, Alex and Mary Beth Frame noticed something was off with Petey. After a walk, he fell over and had a seizure. A week later, it happened again, and at night, he began howling, as if he were in pain.
The Frames took Petey to the University of Georgia’s School of Veterinary Medicine and learned that their snuggly pooch had a large tumor in his brain. They were told that even with the most aggressive treatment, Petey would probably only live a few months.
These tumors can be quite aggressive, and even when removed, the cancer would most likely grow back around the initial site. Lucky for Petey, his parents were relentless and were introduced to Dr. Hadjipanayis and his team, who wanted to try an experimental treatment at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute.
Previously the doctor and his team had been able to remove the brain tumor from their patients, but even after treatment, they would have tumor regrowth after a year. Basically, the treatment would slow down the cancer cells, using a human cancer drug- Cituximab- and binding it with iron oxide nanoparticles, which carry the medicine directly to the cancer cells, steering clear of healthy cells.
Dr. Hadjipanayis’s experiment was not approved for humans, so Petey became the first test subject.
Petey’s tumor was removed and for three days the test medication was dripped directly into his brain where the tumor was. His seizures stopped, and within a few months, Petey’s personality was right back where it was.
After seven months, Petey underwent another MRI, where the Frames and Petey’s doctors found that there was limited to no regrowth.
After about a year and a half, Petey returned to UGA Veterinary School for another brain scan. Where the doctors found that Petey had scar tissue in his brain around the site, but no tumor regrowth.
Petey is one of five dogs to undergo the experimental treatment. Three of the dogs have passed away, but a dog in Louisiana is doing well at 16 months after surgery. As of February 2013, Petey is at 17 months and doing well.