Curing Animal Cancer with a Radiation Scalpel
Kenji Hosoya , Associate Professor
Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine （Veterinary Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine）
High school : Yamagata Prefectural Yamagata East High School
Academic background : Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Cancer therapy for animals?
My field of specialization is small animal medicine, which is basically the diagnosis and treatment of patient pet animals (companion animals) like dogs and cats, while my specific research interests focus on treating malignant tumors (cancer). Companion animals offer mental stability to the humans they live with, have a positive effect on the psychological development of children, and are currently an important part of human society.
The research method known as translational research uses dogs that have been infected with the same disease as an intermediary step between artificial disease models using mice and actual treatment of humans in clinical settings. In this way, we in the veterinary field serve as an important research step that contributes to human medicine. However, such advancements in the field of medicine are not just for humans. Animals can benefit from such new treatment technologies, and likewise, for the owners of such animals, I believe that researching advanced medical care for animals is highly important. We in the field of veterinary medicine are conducting various experiments in the treatment of animal cancer, and I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about radiation surgery.
What is radiation surgical treatment?
A bombardment simulation
Small irradiation field collimator for radiation surgery
Radiation surgery is the treatment method where ultra-high doses of radiation are administered to one point on the body (an area with a tumor) to eliminate cancer tissue. Surgical treatment is surgery with a scalpel. If radiation therapy is the use of the effects of radiation to "gently" suppress leftover cancer cells from surgery, then radiation surgery is "surgery that uses radiation instead of a scalpel." This therapy does not cut out affected areas, but instead, burns them away through bombardment with high doses of radiation.
In humans, treatment with radiation surgery devices like gamma knives or cyber knives is mainly used in treatment of brain tumors and lung cancer. Radiation surgery focuses tens of times the dosage used in regular radiation therapy on the affected areas. During this time, the normal tissue surrounding the cancer affected areas (in the case of a brain tumor, this would mean the normal brain tissue) also receives a large dose of radiation, and if this goes beyond acceptable levels, it can lead to necrosis in a normal brain. Research on radiation surgery in animals has only just begun, and the necessary dosage to eliminate various cancers and the safe dosage/body mass limit has not yet been determined.
What sort of research are you conducting
In order to conduct radiation surgery accurately and safely, we need to simulate precisely how much energy will be applied to what areas, and how the materials that make up the body will react to high precision irradiation devices and in vivo effect of radiation. We also require a mathematical model that will predict how normal tissue will react to high doses of radiation. My eventual target is naturally occurring cancer in animals, so I will be collecting and analyzing clinical data from treatment of actual diagnosed patient animals.
Measurement experiment of radiation dosage distribution
I am proactively researching not only radiation surgery, but bone marrow transplant, immunotherapy, and other areas where application of advanced medicine to animals has not progressed. By establishing root cancer treatment that causes less stress to animals, I hope to contribute to a more comfortable life with animals.