November 6th, 2017
Pictures of dogs and their smiling owners line a wall of John Robertson’s office in Kelly Hall.
Each canine, from Spanky, the Boston terrier, to Lena, the miniature schnauzer, battled brain cancer and lived longer than expected, thanks to a clinical trial at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech.
In the next few years, Robertson, a research professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech, hopes to post pictures of people on his wall.
A recently awarded $9.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute will help a team that includes Robertson and other engineers, cancer researchers, surgeons, and veterinarians from Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University to test the same treatment methods on humans.
The five-year grant will fund four different approaches to treating brain cancer, specifically glioblastoma, the most common and deadliest form of brain cancer in adults.
“The goal of our work has always been to get critical therapies to people,” Robertson said. “This grant will provide us with the resources to take this over the line.”