Neurology

Neurology gait analysis study

Title: Neurology gait analysis study
Contact: Texas A&M Neurology Service |SANeurology@cvm.tamu.edu | (979) 845-2351
Species: Dogs
Inclusion Criteria and General Background Information: Monday – Thursday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm ONLY

20 Dachshunds total

  • 10 Dachshunds with moderate SCIs – non-ambulatory paraparesis
  • MFS – 3
  • <7 day duration of clinical signs consistent with spinal cord injury
  • Lesion localized to T10-L2 intervertebral disc spaces
  • Advanced imaging and surgery to treat IVDH
  • 2-6 years of age
  • BCS <6 (0-9 scale)
  • 10 Dachshunds with severe SCIs – parapelegia
  • MFS – 0-2
  • <7 day duration of clinical signs consistent with spinal cord injury
  • Lesion localized to T10-L2 intervertebral disc spaces
  • Advanced imaging and surgery to treat IVDH
  • 2-6 years of age
  • BCS <6 (0-9 scale)
Kinetic/kinematic analysis:
  • Dogs with SCI (4 total): Days 3, 7, 30, 90
Exclusion Criteria:
  • Disseminated neoplasia or systemic inflammation
  • History of recent breeding/pregnancy
  • Detectable orthopedic disease
  • Unsuitable temperament for repeated behavioral evaluation
Owner Commitments:
Financial Incentives: $3,750.00 package pricing and a $750.00 rebate at the completion of the Day 90 recheck.

Initial peripheral blood collection in dogs with spinal cord injury.

Title: Initial peripheral blood collection in dogs with spinal cord injury.
Contact: Texas A&M Neurology Service | SANeurology@cvm.tamu.edu | (979) 845-2351
Species: Dogs
Inclusion Criteria and General Background Information: Blood draws of 10 mLs-12 mLs will be collected in EDTA coated plastic tubes, provided for the study. Dogs enrolled in this study will have blood draws at 4 time points: day 0 (day of surgery), and days 3, 7, 30, 90 post-surgeries.

Inclusion Criteria for SCI Dogs

  1. Affected dogs will have IVDH treated with surgical decompression
  2. Lesions must be localized to the T3-L3 spinal cord segments
  3. ≤ 2 day history of non-ambulatory status compatible with SCI
  4. Can have back pain prior to non-ambulatory status
  5. Minimum weight of 4 kg (9 lbs)

Inclusion Criteria for Peripheral Injury Dogs

  1. Affected dogs will have acute long bone fracture treated with surgery.
  2. ≤ 2 day history of cruciate rupture
  3. Minimum weight of 4 kg (9 lbs)
NOTE: If a Dachshund, the patient can be co-enrolled in the Dachshund Gait Study.
Exclusion Criteria:
  1. Additional neurologic disease that is unrelated to the spinal cord
  2. Pregnant
  3. Uncooperative dogs
  4. Illness or disease in which the immune system is functioning abnormally (e.g.: cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, atopy, immune-mediated diseases)
  5. Inflammation unrelated to SCI (e.g.: clinically significant skin infections)
  6. NSAIDS given within 30 days
  7. Glucocorticoids given within 30 days
  8. No history of vaccination within 2 weeks
Owner Commitments: The owner would need to return for the day 30 and day 90 recheck appointments
Financial Incentives: $3,750.00 package pricing for research

Small molecule STING agonists for glioma immunotherapy

Title: Small molecule STING agonists for glioma immunotherapy
Contact: Texas A&M Neurology Service | SANeurology@cvm.tamu.edu | (979) 845-2351
Species: Dogs
Inclusion Criteria and General Background Information: Glioma, a common and deadly brain tumor in humans and dogs, remains especially difficult to treat using conventional therapies due to its tendency to grow deep within the brain and infiltrate into surrounding structures. It’s well-accepted that the body’s own immune system is capable of slowing the growth of, and even of destroying, tumor cells. However, the immune system of the brain is difficult to stimulate due to the protective barrier between the bloodstream and the brain.

Recently, new therapies to treat glioma have focused on activating the immune system of the brain to fight the tumors. One general activating molecule that is known to be important in regulating the growth of glioma is STING (stimulator of interferon genes). STING is normally stimulated by the presence of bacterial DNA, and it, in turn, increases the production of local signals that increase tumor-fighting immune cell activity.

Our trial drug, IACS-8803, is a small molecule that mimics the structure of the bacterial DNA and activates STING. We inject it directly into the tumor using computer-guided instruments to minimize the impact of the drug on the healthy surrounding brain tissue. The drug remains within the brain, so it should also have minimal impact on the rest of the body.

We know that this drug can reduce the growth of gliomas in mice in the lab, that it generates an immune response in the brains of dogs with gliomas, and that it can be given safely under the skin in healthy dogs at much higher doses than are used in our trial. Because the skin is much more immune-reactive than the brain, this likely means it can be given safely in the brain, too.

  • Dogs that are candidates for our trial must have had a high-grade glioma diagnosed based on a recent MRI.
  • Dogs may have had other, previous treatments for the tumor, such as radiation therapy or surgical resection.
During the Trial:
  • After consultation and enrollment, dogs would have two injections into their tumor (4–6 weeks apart) performed at Texas A&M and would need to return to A&M regularly over the next 6 months for checkups and brief repeat MRIs to track changes in the size of the tumor.
  • Dogs in the trial may also take any medications prescribed to control seizures and standard medications given to control swelling around brain tumors (e.g., prednisone). During participation in the trial, dogs may not have radiation therapy, surgery, or other chemotherapy to treat the brain tumor.
Owner Commitments: The owner would need to return with their dog for both injection appointments and regurlarly for the next 6 months for checkups and brief repeat MRIs.

Disclaimers:

  • Serious complications may result from intracranial injections, which must be performed under general anesthesia. Although these complications are rare, they include worsening neurological function, seizures, life-threatening bleeding, and even death.
  • At this time, we do not know if receiving the drug will slow the growth of gliomas in dogs’ brains.  
Financial Incentives: All costs associated with anesthesia and equipment for the injections, hospitalization, recheck visits, and MRIs will be covered by the study.