Mike VI Receives First Radiation Treatment
Written by LSU University Relations
BATON ROUGE – On Wednesday, June 1, LSU’s live tiger mascot, Mike VI, was anesthetized and taken to Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center for stereotactic radiotherapy, or SRT, which delivered a precise, concentrated dose of radiation to Mike’s cancer.
The radiation dose was delivered in a single treatment and optimized to avoid normal tissues surrounding Mike’s cancer in order to reduce the risk complications. The Elekta Versa HD was used for Mike’s treatment and is one of the most advanced radiation therapy systems available today for delivering the type of treatment Mike needed. 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. On May 28, Mike underwent radiation treatment simulation to create the devices that were used to help position Mike for SRT and to acquire the CT images used to map the tumor in his face during treatment planning. It appears at this time that Mike will only need to undergo one treatment.
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 have occurred outside of normal business hours.
Following SRT, Mike was taken back to his night house on the LSU campus. Mike VI is not expected to experience more than mild and transient (temporary) side effects from the treatment. He is awake but will remain inside as he recovers from the general anesthesia necessary for the treatment. Mike will be closely monitored by LSU’s attending veterinarian David Baker, DVM, Ph.D., and his veterinary student caretakers.