Saving Max with mushrooms

FRESNO, Calif.

Life without their dog Max would be unimaginable for the Walter family.

"He's very sweet. He's a good, good buddy," said Christy Walter.

So, when Max was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer of the spleen known as hemangiosarcoma, it was hard.

Max's vet shared the grim news.

"This is how long he has. He has one to two months. There's a trial you can try," Christy said.

Max enrolled in a new clinical trial at Penn Vet that's testing an ancient Chinese mushroom.

"This could be really, really major," said Dr. Dorothy Cimino-Brown, Professor of Surgery University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Researchers found dogs treated with a compound from the Yun Zhi mushroom, known as PSP, had the longest survival times ever reported for dogs with the deadly disease; going from a maximum two-months with no treatment, to several dogs living over a year with only the mushroom as a treatment.

"What we saw was so unexpected and so dramatic and the potential implications of it are huge," Dr. Dorothy Cimino-Brown said.

That includes helping humans fight cancer. For now, the Walter's are thankful for their extra time with Max.

"And it's good time, quality time. He's not just lying there sick," Christy explained.

Researchers were so surprised with the results of the first study that they actually went back and looked at the biopsies to make sure the dogs had this deadly spleen cancer to begin with.

There are products with PSP on the market for human and animal consumption, but researchers caution since they are supplements; they are not regulated by the FDA.

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