Update for the first year of a 2 year study looking at new medical treatments for dogs with Cushing’s syndrome.
Hyperadrenocorticsm, also known as Cushing’s disease, is one of the most common endocrine diseases in older dogs. The disease develops when the body produces higher than normal levels of the hormone cortisol. Dogs with hyperadrenocorticsm often are managed medically with drugs to control clinical signs. Although many therapeutics are effective, the drugs sometimes have severe side effects, highlighting the need for newer, safer therapies.
Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers from Utrecht University, in the Netherlands, are exploring novel treatment options for dogs with hyperadrenocorticism. The elevated cortisol levels associated with this disease are triggered primarily by pituitary gland and adrenal gland tumors. Using tissue cultures derived from canine cortisol-secreting adrenal tumors, the research team is assessing the effect of several novel compounds on cortisol production and adrenal tumor growth.
Preliminary results are promising. The research team is incubating adrenal cells with several therapeutics that fall into two broad categories of compounds. Preliminary data on the first set of samples show a decrease in cortisol concentration in adrenal cells after treatment. However, further data are needed to confirm these results. During the next year, the research team will continue to recruit dogs into the study to obtain additional tissue samples for analysis. The research team also will collect data on how the novel compounds affect tumor growth and cortisol synthesis.
Few treatment options are available for dogs with adrenal gland tumors, largely because the mechanism by which the tumors release excessive cortisol is poorly understood. This study is filling knowledge gaps about the biological behavior of adrenal tumors while exploring options to improve treatment strategies for dogs with hyperadrenocorticism. (D15CA-052)