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OCR study case

At Animal Hospital Postojna we are dedicated to the treatment of animals with cancer. Moreover, we realise that research fuels advancement in our profession for the benefit of animals. Therefore, we collaborate with excellent professionals in the field of oncology and continuously attend meetings, and we also do our best to conduct research at the Animal Hospital Postojna.

Recently we began a study titled "Evaluation of immune system response to hypo-fractionated radiotherapy in canine non-operable oral, cutaneous or digital melanoma’ together with the Oncovet Clinical Research Centre in France and our external collaborator Dr Jerome Benoit.

With the client’s agreement, we include dogs (males and females) with malignant melanoma when the tumour cannot be surgically removed, either due to its localisation preventing the recommended wide excision, or the client’s refusal to approve such a procedure. In that case, hypo-fractionated radiotherapy remains the preferred treatment.

The study aims to evaluate immune system response to hypo-fractionated radiotherapy in canine non-operable oral, cutaneous, or digital melanoma and to assess the ability of this therapy to improve the response to immunotherapy in combined treatment. This subject is currently under comprehensive research in human and veterinary medicine.

Cancer is linked to the disruption of general functions of the body. Among these dysfunctions, the immune system does not recognise abnormal cells and, consequently, it does not remove them. Since the immune system does not recognise the tumour as a harmful foreign element, it is necessary to ‘educate’ it to do so. If the immune response is too weak, it is necessary to stimulate it to fight the cancer. Consequently, the stimulated immune system can confront cancer cells. Immunotherapy can be provided alone or in combination with other anti-cancer therapies, such as radiotherapy.

Radiotherapy is a local treatment applied to numerous types of canine cancer. It uses radiation dispensed in an ‘external way’ similarly to transmitted light directed to the tumour area. During radiotherapy sessions, radiation generates DNA damage to all cell types. Healthy cells display a better radiation tolerance than tumour cells which are more sensitive and will die consequently. To preserve healthy tissues to the greatest extent, radiation doses are fractionated (4 sessions with a one-week-interval within the framework of the study protocol).

To assure accurate diagnosis and consider the animal a candidate for the study, we will examine your animal thoroughly at your first visit to Animal Hospital Postojna and follow your animal closely throughout the treatment.

If you are interested in participating in the study and would like to know more about the study protocol and obligations, risks and potential constraints as well as benefits that we offer if you decide to participate, please, contact us at

Check out more details on the study in the document below.

Text by Ana Rejec Jenček.