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Pioneering Cancer Treatment At NDSR Saves 16-year-old Cat

9 months ago

17th December, 2019 16h45

North Downs Specialist Referrals

Mischa the cat may be missing her nose but she’s alive and well after surviving an aggressive form of nasal cancer thanks to the use of pioneering electrochemotherapy treatment.

Remarkably, the 16-year-old feline is now living a normal life again after undergoing the innovative treatment at a leading veterinary hospital in Surrey.

North Downs Specialist Referrals (NDSR) in Bletchingley, which is part of the UK-wide Linnaeus Group, is one of the very few veterinary centres in the world offering electrochemotherapy treatment for pets and staff there are “delighted” with the results.

Mischa is the latest positive outcome for NDSR and its oncology clinical director, Gerry Polton, who is particularly pleased with the results from a severe and challenging case.

Gerry explained: “Mischa came to us with a destructive tumour on the end of her nose which was infiltrating into her deeper nasal tissues.

“It was a challenging case because the tumour was so extensive. We could have performed an operation to remove it but it would have been very radical and there would have been a risk that it could have left cancerous tissue behind.

“Electrochemotherapy gave us a much better option and we used it exclusively to treat Mischa.

“Remarkably she received only two treatments, four weeks apart, and the cancer was gone.

“I’d planned four treatments but Mischa responded so well that the other two weren’t necessary, which illustrates how impressive the results of electrochemotherapy can be.

“The tumour was so large that the end of her nose did disappear with the treatment, however, once the cancer was gone, it all healed perfectly and she has lived like a normal cat ever since.”

The rapidly evolving, electrochemotherapy treatment is given in two stages.

First, the patient is given a mild dose of intravenous chemotherapy in the normal way and then, using a special probe, a very precise electrical charge is given to the area on or around the tumour.

This temporarily opens up tiny holes in the cells, big enough to allow the drug to enter, which then close again in microseconds. This means the drug will only attack cancerous cells, unlike normal chemotherapy, which also kills healthy cells.

Gerry added: “The beauty of the electrochemotherapy is that it allows clever and precise anatomical targeting of the specific site of the cancer.

“This means we can attack the cancerous cells while protecting the healthy cells which makes it a very effective way of treating the cancer without harming the patient indiscriminately.”

To find out more about North Downs, its electrochemotherapy treatment and its specialist services, visit

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