Doctors at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle have used adult stem cells to cure a golden retriever suffering from a lymphoma, a type of cancer that attacks the immune system. The owner spent months tracking down a perfect tissue match for Comet and finally found him in Florida. The transplant happened last June and Comet is making slow but steady progress towards recovery.
The Seattle vet, Dr Edmund Sullivan, plans to offer the treatment as part of his regular services – for a fee of about US$25,000. He has purchased a machine for separating stem cells, contracted for laboratory services and arranged for Washington State University to provide total body radiation. Sullivan said that a few other vets have questioned the use of such expensive technology to treat a dog. But he says it is up to the owners to decide how much is too much.
The owners, Darrell and Nina Hallett, who abandoned their plans to remodel their kitchen to pay for the treatment, have no regrets. “It wasn’t even a close decision,” Mr Hallet said. “How could I live with myself if I didn’t do this and he had a good shot at getting through it? When you take on a dog, you have an ethical and moral obligation to take care of him.”
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