24 July 2016

HEALTH - Database Connects Researchers, Vets and Pet Owners

An online database is being touted as a new tool to help connect researchers, vets and pet owners better than ever.

Launched in June, the AVMA Animal Health Studies Database is designed to direct vets and pet owners to treatment options and assist researchers in recruiting animals to take part in clinical studies.

The first-of-its-kind, go-to database will be an alternative to the cumbersome search veterinarians typically endure when looking for clinical trials which may be relevant to patients.

“So having one site where it’s easy for veterinarians and for pet owners to go in and see what clinical trials are available is just a huge move forward,” says Dr. Therese “Terry” Fossum, chair of the AVMA working group and surgery professor at Midwestern’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Arizona.

And the database will include the good and the bad, so to speak.

“Part of the idea is to provide information about whether results are negative or positive and therefore, whether an intervention is worth pursuing,” Fossum says.

“Very few people publish negative results on the whole, but sometimes those negative results are as informative as positive ones.”

While the Veterinary Cancer Trials website is a national database for studies done on cats and dogs, the AVMA site will go further and encompass all fields of veterinary medicine and all species of animals, even including studies on wildlife.

The network will also extend beyond the U.S to Canada and the United Kingdom.

It means linking up researchers, study candidates, vets looking for promising studies and/or trials and pets needing treatment options will be that much easier to do.

Dr. Ed Murphey, an assistant director in the AVMA Education and Research Division, said a prime example of how the database could work is where investigators might want to study a drug, surgical technique or treatment for a certain condition in animals and turn to the online resource to collect samples from animals with a certain condition for DNA analysis.

“There are a lot of AVMA members involved in the conduct of clinical studies, and so, having the database helps them enrol animals into their studies,” Murphey says.
“And there’s a direct benefit to practitioners who are looking for all avenues to help some of their owners and patients ... (the database) will be a centralized collection where it will be one-stop shopping for people with animals with certain conditions who may be interested in trying to find out if there are any studies that may either help their animal or may at least help direct the advancement of knowledge for the condition.”

Animal owners, veterinarians, and anyone else can search the database.

The Veterinary Cancer Society transferred its estimated 100 studies from its Veterinary Cancer Trials website into the AVMA database and there is a call-out to solicit studies from vet colleges.

Dr. Kim A. Selting, creator of the Veterinary Cancer Trials website and AVMA working group member, says good-quality trials rely on recruiting good candidates, an endeavour simplified by the database.

“Sometimes it’s hard to find those cases,” she says.

“We know they’re out there. We know that dogs get a particular kind of tumor or cats get a particular kind of tumor. But either the owners aren’t aware of the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial or they have some trepidation or uncertainty about participating in a trial or don’t understand what all is involved in that with regards to money and time.”

​The database is at www.avma.org/findvetstudies.

By Nadia Moharib
Nadia Moharib is an animal lover who has adopted everything from birds to hamsters, salamanders, rabbits, fish and felines. She has written about all-things-pets for years and was a long-time editor of a pet magazine in a daily newspaper which featured a Q & A column, Ask Whit, penned by her pooch (ghost written, of course.) The serial dog owner lives in Calgary, Alberta and most days can be found at a dog park picking up after her rescue pooch, Scoots.

No comments:

Post a Comment