The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that L-asparaginase, a chemotherapy drug used to treat lymphoma in both species, remains effective after being refrigerated for up to 14 days and frozen for up to six months, the Winn Feline Foundation said. This finding about “long-term cold storage” is important because chemotherapy is expensive and “L-asparaginase is available in single dose vials that often result in significant drug wastage,” the foundation said. In addition, “intermittent drug shortages limit consistent availability for use.”
The study results establish “a scientific basis for long-term cold storage of … L-asparaginase to facilitate multiple doses in small animal patients with lymphoma,” the researchers concluded. “This practical information may be clinically useful and result in better utilization of limited drug resources and improve financial feasibility of … L-asparaginase as a therapeutic option for pets with lymphoma.”
Several “unresolved issues” remain, the researchers acknowledged, including how to draw multiple doses from a drug packaged for single use.