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The Life of Ryley: Taking part in a PharmAust veterinary clinical drug trial for canine lymphoma

Posted in Case Studies @ Oct 14th 2021 - By Sharon (Ryley's mum) & Dr Sonya Yu (ARH)
The Life Of Ryley Taking Part In A Pharmaust Vet Clinical Drug Trial For Canine Lymphoma

Ryley was only 5 when diagnosed with lymphoma - her family decided to get involved with the PharmAust MPL drug trial...

The pet owner's perspective from Sharon, Ryley's mum...

Tell us about Ryley – how did she come into your family and what does she mean to your family?

Ryley is our 5-year-old Border Collie x Kelpie. She is friendly, energetic, loyal, obedient, intelligent and inquisitive. She got her name from the country town where she was born – Rylestone. 

Ryley is our companion and the reason why we go for walks or runs, even when we don’t feel like it. She loves chasing waves, playing tug of war with her fluffy and squeaky toys, chewing large bones and burying them around the yard, exploring hidden places and greeting everyone walking past our house by racing up and down the fence line. 

How was she diagnosed with lymphoma and how did you decide treatment? 

Ryley was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma in July 2021 by our local vet. My husband was giving Ryley a pat and noticed a few lumps on her neck. We had also heard her coughing a few times. When we took her to our vet at Burwood Road Veterinary Clinic, we never thought it was anything serious, as she never seemed unwell. She had her usual appetite and energy levels.

We were shocked when our vet thought it was lymphoma and that her life expectancy was weeks to months. Our vet undertook a blood test and a fine needle aspiration, which confirmed lymphoma.

The prognosis was 4-6 weeks. It was confronting to have that diagnosis. 

We didn’t want to put her through anything drastic, which would make her more unwell and affect her quality of life. We felt that chemotherapy was not an option as life expectancy is still not much more than 1 year. Our main aim was to hopefully extend her life but more importantly maintain her quality of life. 

How did Ryley participate in the MPL trial?

Upon Ryley’s diagnosis, we immediately started researching clinical trials and found Dr Sonya Yu (at the Animal Referral Hospital in Homebush), who is involved in the MPL Trial. 

I am a nurse with some experience in clinical trials, so I had a bit of an idea of what I thought would be a suitable trial. This trial guaranteed that she would actually be on the medication - not a placebo - and it didn’t involve an excessive amount of invasive investigations and clinic visits.

The MPL trial has been a positive experience. Dr Sonya is fantastic and has been wonderfully supportive to Ryley and us. It’s been easy to give Ryley 2 tablets a day and fortunately we live quite close to the Animal Referral Hospital, so it’s been easy to take her for the visits.

Our GP vet was also supportive of the trial, and it felt reassuring to do something. 

How is life for Ryley now?

It’s been 2.5 months since Ryley’s diagnosis and she seems really well. It’s hard to believe she’s so sick, she seems almost like her usual self.

We’re all so pleased to be spending this time with the Ryley we know and love and she’s getting very pampered and spoiled with lots of extra treats and attention.

What is your message for other pet owners?

If you notice a lump or bump, take your dog to the vet immediately. Early diagnosis is key to a better prognosis.  

Discuss all the treatment options with your GP and consider seeing a veterinary oncologist for more research.

Consider clinical trials and discuss it with your GP vet and oncologist.

Keep communication open with your GP vet. 

Have your family on board with your choice of treatment - it helps to have clear and realistic expectations with the outcome. There is no cure and your goal is to give your dog the best life possible. 

Slow everything down and make your dog feel well for as long as possible.

The veterinarian's perspective from Dr Sonya Yu, ARH...

Tell us about Ryley's trial treatment. 

Ryley is receiving a drug named monopantel, which we are currently investigating for treatment of lymphoma in dogs. It is an oral, daily tablet that is given at home by the owner.

The hope is that we can slow down the progression of what is usually a very aggressive cancer that, if untreated, usually claims the lives of dogs within weeks of diagnosis. She has been on this medication for nearly three months.

What is her condition now and prognosis?

So far, the drug has been effective in doing what we were hoping it would do, which is prevent her lymphoma from progressing quickly. At the moment, her quality of life remains very good, and she is still enjoying life as much as she did prior to her diagnosis.

What's is next for Ryley's treatment? 

Very recently, she was started on a light dose of prednisolone steroid medication to enhance the effects of the monopantel. She will remain on this regimen until she experiences progression of her cancer. 

What's your message for dog owners about lymphoma? 

Lymphoma (and many forms of cancer) can make dogs very sick, very quickly, so if you see or feel a lump that is new on your dog, get it checked out by your vet. 

How to refer canine patients for the Monopantel drug trial.

PhamAust is currently recruiting dogs across Australian trial sites focused on dose optimisation before commencing a Phase 3 trial for registration with a targeted approximate starting date of March 2022, prior to seeking to bring Monepantel to market. If you have a patient with B-cell lymphoma, you can refer your client to a trial clinic nearest you.

You can find the location of the participating clinics as well as the inclusion/exclusion criteria here: 

If you would like to find out more about the monopantel drug trial or have any other questions, contact Dr Richard Mollard, Chief Scientific Officer of PharmAust: Email  |  Tel: +61 418 367 855


Click here to visit the PharmAust Page in our Business Directory


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