By Tiger Rag News Services
BATON ROUGE – On May 28, LSU’s live tiger mascot, Mike VI, was anesthetized and taken to Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center for a radiation treatment simulation, the first step in his treatment for spindle cell sarcoma. During the simulation process, the Cancer Center team created the devices that will be used to help position Mike and acquired multiple CT images that will be used to map the tumor in Mike’s face during treatment planning. These images will also later be used to very precisely target the tumor using stereotactic radiotherapy, or SRT, which delivers radiation to the tumor in a highly focused manner, sparing surrounding, normal tissues so complications are reduced.
Treatment may be given as a single, high dose or as fractionated doses given daily for up to three days. This treatment is not curative but should extend Mike’s life and allow him to live comfortably for some time.
Mike VI was diagnosed with a spindle cell sarcoma, a type of cancer, after he was taken to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine for a physical examination and diagnostic studies on May 12.
Eventually, the radiation-resistant cells remaining in the tumor will resume growth. As for timeframes, it is estimated that without treatment Mike VI could live 1-2 months; with treatment, perhaps 1-2 years.
The Cancer Center was selected to provide radiation therapy due to its longstanding relationship with the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. For years, the Cancer Center’s medical physicists have provided consultation and approval for animals receiving radiation treatment at LSU. Additionally, the Cancer Center offers the advanced technology and facilities necessary for Mike’s SRT treatments, which will occur outside of normal business hours.
Following Mike’s planning simulation, he was taken back to his night house on the LSU campus. He is awake but will remain inside as he recovers from the general anesthesia necessary for the CT. Mike will be closely monitored by LSU’s attending veterinarian David Baker, DVM, PhD, and his veterinary student caretakers.