Human anemia drugs took the life of our cat. Now we are making a safe anemia drug for all cats and dogs. We are veterinarian Dr. Nicole Paccione-Gerbe, Dr. Pete Schatz, and Tom Gerbe - AUA!
Dr. Nicole Paccione-Gerbe, DVM
Dr. Pete Schatz, Ph.D.
and Tom Gerbe
Two years ago our cat, Cassie, died from a common complication after being given a human drug to treat her anemia. Older cats and dogs frequently get kidney disease, which causes anemia. There is no FDA approved treatment for cats and dogs, so human medicine is used, often resulting in an immune reaction that makes things much worse. To stop this from happening thousands of times every year, we are well on the way to finding a solution that will help pet owners and their furry friends - developing a medication specifically designed for safe use in cats and dogs.
We have a small lab in Menlo Park, California and a team of drug discovery experts who are using advanced technology to invent a new molecule. By screening through billions of DNA-encoded variants of a basic design, we have discovered molecular structures that bind to receptors in cats and dogs. Stimulation of these receptors can cure anemia by causing the animals to make more red blood cells. This breakthrough is a big step towards a safe, effective, FDA approved drug to treat anemia in companion animals.
You can see a video about our story here: http://cassiepets.com
You can support the initiative here: http://gofundme.com/cassiepets/
Dr. Schatz has a number of patents relating to EPO, the hormone that regulates red blood cell production, and to the discovery of drugs that mimic its activity: http://1.usa.gov/1C5TDiG
If your cat or dog is anemic, there are precautions that you can take to reduce your pet’s risk
Cats and dogs can have a fatal autoimmune reaction to human anemia medications
Epogen® (epoetin alfa) and Aranesp® (darbepoetin alfa) are your two choices; Epogen® is much cheaper but carries more risk
Never Use Epogen® in pets - Aranesp® (from Amgen) is not perfect, but it is safer
Do not treat anemia in pets with current treatment options unless the anemia affects your pet's quality of life
Research suggests that smaller doses of Aranesp® can be effective, and further limit risk
Chronic Kidney disease (CKD) is the most common cause of anemia in pets; especially cats.
If your cat or dog is over 12, do them a favor, and bring them to the vet at least once annually
When treated early, pets with CKD can live much longer
Simple changes in diet can slow the progression of CKD
Watch for weight loss, pale gums, lack of appetite
Learn more about CKD and pets at http://iris-kidney.com
Victoria was so kind to help us get started with this AMA. We are here to answer your questions about veterinary medicine, drug development, molecular biology, and the fascinating road that is drug discovery.
Ask us anything!
Edit: Thanks for your comments. We will continue to answer questions if you have more.