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Reversing metastatic osteosarcoma

Updated: Feb 28


"I hope cancer doesn’t spread"

That’s what we pray for after our beloved dogs are treated for cancer.

Because if cancer spreads, that usually spells the end. Existing treatments can’t reverse metastasis.

I lost my dog, Gus, to osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer five years ago. Even with surgery and chemotherapy, cancer came back in less than 12 months.

But recently, I learned about several dogs with osteosarcoma who were helped by a new therapy. The tumors had spread to lungs, as they typically do with osteosarcoma. But after receiving injections of therapeutic vaccine developed at Yale University, all signs of tumor disappeared.

A summary was provided in an earlier blog on the vaccine. And the Yale scientist, Dr. Mark Mamula, recently described their work in a seminar .

In this video, Rick Kneisel - dad of one the dogs - shares what he and Ranger went through.

It's a remarkable story of hope.

Ranger’s Journey

By Rick Kneisel

March 1, 2019 - Slips on wet grass after chasing a tennis ball and comes up limping. I think it is a sprain or pulled muscle and am not worried.

March 10, 2019 - Limp does not improve so he sees his vet. She prescribes carprofen, but at the end of the visit she starts to say, “Let’s hope it is not…..” I ask “what”? This is the first time I hear the word osteosarcoma.

March 20, 2019 - Limp is still not better, so I take him back. X-rays are taken and sent to OSU (Ohio State University). My vet says that she sees a hairline fracture, but is suspicious of a small amount of mushy bone.

March 21, 2019 - Results are back from OSU. Likely bone tumor. Needle aspirate needed to confirm

March 25, 2019 - Go to Care Clinic of Cincinnati. Bone biopsy done.

April 3, 2019 - Picked up report. 95% sure osteosarcoma.

April 9th, 2019 - Drove 3 hours north to confer with a very good friend who is a well known vet. He says that since the last x-ray, the bone has “exploded”…the cancer is eating away the bone. Talk about options. I want Ranger to be whole…to run and play like always. On the drive home, I call MedVet in Cincinnati for consultation.

April 16th, 2019 - Talked to everyone there I think, radiologist, oncologist, surgeon, rehab specialist, assistants. That bill was $1,022.00. I left depressed knowing that Ranger’s best chance to survive was amputation. When we get home, Ranger is so eager to see the neighborhood kids that he tries jumping over the cloth seat barrier and hurts his right fore leg more. I go inside and call MedVet at that point and schedule his amputation for Friday, April 19th. Good Friday.

April 19th, 2019 - Amputation of right front forelimb due to osteosarcoma in the distal right radius.

May 9, 2019 - 1st chemo treatment. Carboplatin

May 30, 2019 - 2nd chemo

June 20, 2019 - 3rd chemo

July 11, 2019 - 4th chemo X-rays show a nodule [in his lungs]. They are not sure if it is a lesion or an artifact.

August 13, 2019 - Nodule is more defined and growing

August 15, 2019 - Drive to OSU. They have to do testing to see if Ranger will be eligible. $1300.00. He has to stay overnight so a cardiologist can see him,

August 16, 2019 - Ranger is accepted into the PAC-1 Clinical Trial

August 19, 2019 - Ranger begins taking the PAC-1 pills every evening with food

(This starts the 8 week rotation of a week of pills, then a week of doxorubicin)

Oct 31, 2019 - Back at OSU. The news is not good. The cancer is still there…and growing. I get home and call Dr. Mamula [at Yale University]. I had already gotten in touch with him weeks ago to see if Ranger would be eligible for the study. He was and I have sent in my application. He will send out the Yale vaccine to my vet on Monday.

Nov. 7, 2019 - Ranger receives his first vaccine.

Nov. 27, 2019 - Ranger receives his second vaccination. While in the waiting room, I knot on one side of his neck. It apparently is a reaction from the first shot.

Nov. 29, 2019 - Ranger develops a huge knot on the side of his neck On Nov, 31 the sterile abscess begins to seep. By Dec 1st, the seepage stopped.

Dec. 23, 2019 - Drove to OSU for a follow-up with x-rays. The news is that the tumor has become static!!! It no longer is growing and actually may have become encapsulated.

Jan. 21, 2020 - Got the results back from the blood draws. Ranger is positive for making antibodies [against antigens targeted by the vaccine]!

Feb 24, 2020 - Back to OSU for a follow-up. NO METS!!! NO LESIONS!!! The tumor is resolved…..GONE!!!

April 20, 2020 - Back to OSU for follow up x-rays. All clear!!!!!!

July 20, 2020 - Back to OSU for follow up x-rays. All clear!!!!!! 496 days since the slipping incident. 451 days since his amputation!!!!!!

Oct 10, 2020 - Ranger's lungs are still clear and healthy.

Oct 8, 2022 - Ranger is still healthy and happy and with us!


Ranger's Food Regimen

by Rick Kneisel (Ranger's dad)

Here is what Ranger gets in the evening starting at 5:00

1) I fill the bottom of his bowl with one layer of Purina One Chicken and Rice kibble (the kibble was recommended by the OSU oncologist who was running the PAC-1 study)

2) I dice up 3 or 4 florets of broccoli and 3-4 spears of asparagus and add to bowl

3) I add 1/3 can of canned salmon and mix with the veggies.

4) I add 1/4 can of canned dog food (Blue Buffalo Backyard BBQ)

5) Add a heaping tsp of Turkey Tail Mushroom Powder. Mix everything once more.

6) Add a chewable Turmeric cube

7) add two squirts of Life Gold Immune Booster

8) Add on sliced baked chicken breast on top….also feed sitting dog beside you a few slices while you add. It is a highlight for him!!!

We gratefully acknowledge Rick Kneisel (Ranger's dad) for his contribution to this post.

1 Comment

Jul 13, 2023

Thanks for sharing your story. I am curious about Ranger's diet as we are about to embark on our own journey with our 8-year-old pup (recent diagnosis of osteosarcoma). Do you feed him only once a day? My girl is food motivated so I am trying to figure out the best feeding schedule for her.

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