Cancer in elephant is being treated with unprecedented approach

An Asian Elephant in the El Paso Zoo has undergone two successful rounds of electrochemotherapy.

The elephant, 49-year-old Juno, underwent her second successful treatment Friday. She was diagnosed with a malignant mass in her right mammary gland in January; she underwent her first electrochemotherapy treatment in March.

“The El Paso Zoo is on the cutting edge in terms of the cancer treatment they are providing Juno,” said Dr. Jospeh Impellizeri, of Veterinary Oncology Services in a statement. “This type of treatment on large, exotic animals isn’t getting done anywhere else—not even Europe. It’s incredible.”

THE WORLD OF ANIMALS

The treatment was performed by Impellizeri, along with two veterinarians from the El Paso Zoo and the zoo’s staff.

The electrochemotherapy treatment uses a chemotherapy drug that’s infused into the tumor, then an electric pulse draws the chemotherapy directly into the cancer cells. Juno was put under anesthesia for an hour and a half for the treatment but is now alert and walking, according to the zoo.

The tumor is very big and the zoo said the electrochemotherapy allows for multiple treatments, unlike invasive surgery.

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