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Oral cancer in cats may have new foes

Studies may have found more effective treatments for a deadly form of mouth cancer in cats.
Studies may have found more effective treatments for a deadly form of mouth cancer in cats. Marc Selinger

Researchers have taken significant steps toward developing more effective treatments for a deadly form of mouth cancer in cats, according to results of two studies released late Jan. 13.

One study, by the University of Tennessee, found that a combination of two drugs – an anti-inflammatory and an enzyme inhibitor -- killed tumor cells in a laboratory. The other study, by Oregon State University, showed that an inhibitor could stop the growth of tumor cells in a laboratory.

Both treatments still require testing in cats but are promising, said the New Jersey-based Winn Feline Foundation, which funded the research.

Both studies looked at squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity, a common cancer that develops in the jaw, gums and under the tongue and quickly spreads to other parts of the body. Current treatment options are limited to alleviating pain, and less than 10 percent of cats survive a year after they are diagnosed with the cancer, the foundation said.

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