AMC opens $5 million Cancer Institute

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The Animal Medical Center in New York City unveiled its new Cancer Institute Oct. 2, made possible through AMC Trustee Elaine Langone and her husband, Kenneth G. Langone. The center, modeled after patient-centered human cancer hospitals, provides an integrative and centralized approach, using innovative treatments to care for animals with cancer, according to an AMC press release.

According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 12 million new cancer diagnoses are made in dogs and cats each year, in comparison with 1.6 million new cancer diagnoses in humans. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in dogs, particularly those over age 10, and the leading cause of disease-related death in cats.

The new 2,470-square-foot Cancer Institute at the Animal Medical Center in New York City provides several specialized services, including interventional radiology and interventional endoscopy along with stereotactic radiotherapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy. (Photos courtesy of AMC)

The AMC’s veterinary oncologists diagnose and treat all types of cancers. The center had slightly more than 600 oncology patients within the past year.

The 2,470-square-foot Cancer Institute provides several specialized services, including the following:

  • Interventional radiology and interventional endoscopy: AMC veterinarians who work in this area use intra-arterial chemotherapy to treat bladder cancers and cryotherapy to treat nasal tumors.
  • Stereotactic radiotherapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy: Used by radiation oncologists, including an on-site, board-certified radiation oncologist, to treat tumors in the brain, nasal cavity, oral cavity, periocular region, thyroid, cervical spine, lumbar spine, sacrum, and abdomen, while guarding against tissue damage and unsuccessful tumor control.
  • Integrative medicine: Complementary and alternative therapies offered to work in concert with traditional cancer treatments. Among the modalities used are cold therapeutic laser, acupuncture, and extracorporeal shock wave therapy.

The Cancer Institute has a 22-member oncology team, including four board-certified oncologists who will focus on early detection and work toward cures for cancer through advanced research. One of the current cancer studies at the AMC is comparing conventional 3-D conformal radiation with stereotactic radiotherapy for the treatment of nasal adenocarcinoma. Another study is enrolling cats with suspect fibrosarcomas in a trial. Investigators will evaluate the efficacy and safety of a feline interleukin-2 immunomodulator as an adjunct treatment for feline fibrosarcoma following surgical excision.

The Cancer Institute also will benefit the AMC by expanding the educational platform for interns and residents, providing owners and pets undergoing treatment with greater privacy, and housing larger examination and treatment rooms, including a radiology suite, as well as an on-site diagnostic laboratory. The institute will add one new position for a resident in radiation oncology.

The AMC has been home to some of the most important breakthroughs in cancer treatment for pets, such as the canine melanoma vaccine developed in collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Elaine and Kenneth Langone have been longtime supporters of AMC, starting back in 1995. Having lost quite a few dogs to cancer, the Langones said they believe that the new Cancer Institute was an initiative worth supporting.

To learn more about the Cancer Institute, visit here.

Related JAVMA content:

100 years later, hospital leads the way in veterinary medicine (Aug. 1, 2010)

USDA licenses DNA vaccine for treatment of melanoma in dogs (March 1, 2010)