The US Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday it has approved the first drug developed to treat cancer in dogs.
The drug, which is sold under the brand name Palladia, is approved to treat canine skin-based mast cell tumors, which can be a very serious form of cancer in dogs.
The approval of Palladia marked "an important step forward for veterinary medicine," said Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Up until now, cancer drugs used in veterinary medicine were developed for use in humans and not approved for use in animals.
"Prior to this approval, veterinarians had to rely on human oncology drugs, without knowledge of how safe or effective they would be for dogs," Dunham said.
Palladia, which is manufactured by Pfizer Animal Health Inc., works by killing tumor cells and by cutting off the blood supply to the tumor.
In a clinical trial, Palladia showed a statistically significant difference in tumor shrinkage when compared with a placebo.