Curing Nemo: The 700-pound pig with cancer

By Kelly McCarthy

August 1, 2013 Updated Aug 1, 2013 at 11:59 PM EDT

Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A patient at Cornell University Hospital for Animals is getting breakthrough cancer treatment. The patient is the first of his kind to be documented with lymphoma.

The 730 lb pig is to thank for leading breakthroughs in cancer treatment for large animals.

"While it would have been easy to just count him out," said resident Emily Barrell, Cornell University Hospital for Animals, "Because he's a large animal and its never been doing before, Nemo has showed us that we could always try, it never hurts to try."

Nemo suffers from B-Cell lymphoma, which causes a tumor to affects organs and the blood.

He's the first documented pig to have this type of cancer, meaning his treatment has never been tested.

"The implantation of a port in an animal this big is a breakthrough," Barrell said, "The treatment protocol we've come up with has never been done before and his response has never been documented so it's all groundbreaking."

Doctors can't track Nemo's progress the same way as other animals. For smaller animals such as dogs and cats, they track progress using ultrasound.

"But for Nemo," Barrell said, "He's so big we're limited in our capabilities, so we have to go off of how well he's eating and what he's acting like."

Nemo only has three more chemotherapy treatments left.

"He has about another six weeks here with us," Barrell said, "And then he's headed home to his farm to be with his five brothers and sisters."

Nemo was first taken to Cornell University Hospital for Animals in March after his owners noticed a loss of appetite and energy.

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