June 3, 2009

FDA approves drug to treat cancer in dogs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug developed specifically for the treatment of cancer in dogs.

The FDA said Palladia (toceranib phosphate) has been approved to treat canine cutaneous mast cell tumors, a type of cancer responsible for about 1 of 5 cases of canine skin tumors.

All cancer drugs currently used in veterinary medicine originally were developed for use in humans and are not approved for use in animals, the federal agency said. Cancer treatments used in animals are used in an extra-label manner as allowed by the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act of 1994.

This cancer drug approval for dogs is an important step forward for veterinary medicine, said Dr. Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. Prior to this approval, veterinarians had to rely on human oncology drugs, without knowledge of how safe or effective they would be for dogs. Today's approval offers dog owners, in consultation with their veterinarian, an option for treatment of their dog's cancer.

Palladia is manufactured by Pfizer Animal Health Inc.