Today I was given a wonderful opportunity to use my talents in performing radiation implants in a different kind of patient… a horse. This does not happen very often, and as I was informed today, this was the first ever radiation implant of its kind (for a horse) performed in the state of Kentucky, and even more incredible, this was the first Cesium-131 interstitial implant ever performed in a horse! I am unable to say if this will be successful or not at this time, but simply being asked for my expertise, and then being able to visit such a wonderful equine facility was not only a tremendous honor, but one amazing experience.
A few specifics, this is an 8 year old horse referred to as an American Saddlebred Gelding. It was formerly a show horse, but has a very loving family who wishes to keep it around longer. The horse has a type of cancer called a malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor involving its upper eyelid and orbit; it is also sometimes referred to as a neurofibrosarcoma. The horse has previously underwent 4 surgeries and multiple rounds of chemotherapy injections, but the cancer continues to grow. It is our hope that my radiation implant will be the last cancer therapy it needs! I will see the horse again in a few weeks, and will update then. In the meantime, I was given permission by the horse owner and the hospital staff to share these photos:
Specifically, for those interested, I implanted 26 radioactive seeds throughout the tumor in an effort to deliver a high radiation dose to a targeted area. This is a radiation treatment that is permanent, and the radiation seeds slowly give off radiation over the next 2 weeks. Hopefully, this tumor should be gone in about 6-8 weeks.
If you want to learn more about Cesium-131 or how this procedure works, check out the Isoray Medical homepage (and check on the Gynecologic cancers link… you’ll find more about our work at UK!)
And then, shortly following this procedure, I received quite a bit of recognition for performing this implant: