When our beloved calico Maine Coon cat Katya was diagnosed with oral squamous cell carcinoma in 2003 we took aggressive action.

We consulted cancer specialists in Virginia. We took her to a holistic veterinarian in the Washington D.C. area who several years earlier had worked miracles with accupuncture on my arthritis-stricken childhood family dog.

But using supplements to address the cancer did little good.

Because Katya could no longer eat through her mouth, the Virginia cancer doctors recommended putting a feeding tube in her neck. In hindsight, what a terrible mistake. She was miserable. We were miserable.

We nearly enrolled her in a trial at PennVet but decided at nine years old she had had enough trauma and it was time to say goodbye.

Now a regional trial is underway to measure the effects of a new drug for oral squamous cell carcinoma - the most common and aggressive form of feline cancer.

Families with cats with the disease are invited to enroll their pet in the clinical trial at Hope Veterinary Specialists in Malvern (the other sites are Katonah-Bedord Veterinary Clinic in Bedford Hills, NY and VCA SouthPaws Veterinary Specialists in Fairfax, Va.).

The drug MBFT-101, developed by MBF Therapeutics in Malvern, is a combination of two novel anticancer agentis that target different aspects of the cellular metabolism of the cancer.

To enroll your cat in the local trial, which involves providing the medication orally twice daily at home for a period of six weeks, contact: Medical Oncology Department at Hope Veterinary Specialists, Malvern at (610) 296-2099. Email: oncology@HopeVS.com or visit the website. . The drug and exam are provided free of charge.

That's not the only clinical trial for pets going on in the Philadelphia area.

In fact PennVet runs ongoing trials for dogs and cats suffering from a wide range of diseases and conditions, including various cancers, diabetes, chronic knee arthritis and elbow dysplasia, which is being treated with stem cell therapy.

Check their website here.