Displaying items by tag: David MacNeil

When clinicians at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine began caring for Scout in July 2019, they had no idea they would soon inspire, and appear in, a Super Bowl commercial. But they had a canine star on their hands, and a very appreciative client who set in motion the ad’s production. As Super Bowl LIV airs Sunday, Feb. 2, on FOX, Scout will appear alongside members of the school’s faculty and staff who have been part of the 7-year-old golden retriever’s cancer treatment journey. The new 30-second commercial, titled “Lucky Dog,” will air during the game’s second quarter and was paid for by WeatherTech, manufacturer of automotive accessories and home and pet care products. Scout is a member of the family of WeatherTech founder and CEO David MacNeil. The ad follows Scout’s journey as a cancer survivor, celebrates the work being done at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, and encourages viewers to donate to the school’s cancer research efforts at weathertech.com/donate. Cancer is the number one cause of illness and death in the aging dog population. Having lost his last three dogs to cancer and with Scout now also affected by the disease, efforts to advance life-saving treatments and technology are close to MacNeil.

Last summer, however, tragedy struck when Scout collapsed at home. He was rushed to his local animal hospital, where an ultrasound revealed a tumor on his heart. Scout was given a grave prognosis: a life expectancy of no more than one month. He was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive cancer of blood vessel walls.

Searching for more information, Scout and his family rushed to UW Veterinary Care on the recommendation of their local veterinarian. There, specialists with the emergency and critical care and oncology teams stabilized Scout’s condition and arrived at a cutting-edge treatment plan. In mid-July, he began chemotherapy at UW Veterinary Care, followed by radiation therapy targeting his heart tumor. He also received immunotherapy aimed at stimulating his immune system to attack cells expressing specific tumor proteins. Just a month later, Scout and his family received good news: His heart tumor had decreased in size by 78 percent. By September, the tumor was 90 percent smaller than its original size. Today, Scout’s heart tumor has all but disappeared.

Dogs and people not only share similar cancer rates — about one in four dogs and one in three people will develop cancer in their lifetime — but naturally occurring tumors in dogs often share almost identical characteristics to human cancers in terms of recurrence and spread (metastasis), response to treatment and more. Past clinical studies at the School of Veterinary Medicine have yielded new technologies and treatments with better effectiveness and less toxicity. For instance, successful clinical trials in pet dogs with naturally occurring nasal tumors in the early 2000s at UW Veterinary Care led to widespread use of TomoTherapy in human medicine. This state-of-the-art machine, developed at UW–Madison, uses CT-guided radiation treatments to attack cancer with pinpoint accuracy while sparing nearby healthy tissues — a form of treatment that Scout benefited from. Funds raised by the Super Bowl commercial (100 percent of gifts) will be used to support research at the School of Veterinary Medicine to better diagnose, treat and prevent cancer and for the purchase of specialized equipment that will aid clinicians and researchers in identifying new cancer-fighting drugs and treatments — discoveries that are shared with the world.