Dr. Steve Withrow, professor of surgical oncology and founder and associate director of the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University, recently was honored with the Theilen Tribute Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 30th Annual Veterinary Cancer Society conference.
Withrow received the Theilen Tribute Award for Lifetime Achievement for setting the foundation for veterinary oncology, initiating pioneering research and for advancing clinical veterinary oncology.
Withrow was cited for the brilliance of his surgical skills, passion for teaching veterinary students and graduate veterinarians, the inspiration of his leadership and the visionary spirit of developing one of the first medical oncology residency and surgical oncology fellowship programs. He also was recognized for his humanity and compassion in helping cancer patients – animal or human – get the information, diagnostics and treatment they need.
Withrow, considered one of the founding fathers of modern veterinary oncology, was introduced at the conference as the “most influential and accomplished living veterinary oncologist.” His contributions to cancer research, especially in the area of bone cancer diagnostics and treatment, have been noteworthy.
Withrow pioneered a treatment that may prevent amputation in bone cancer patients. The alternative treatment to amputation removes cancerous bones in the limbs of cats and dogs and replaces them with bones from another animal. The treatment was developed in parallel and collaboratively with human limb-sparing research. The procedure has been adopted by cancer treatment centers across the nation and has been highly successful in preventing amputations in children diagnosed with osteosarcoma.
Withrow has worked to secure the future growth of veterinary oncology by working with others to establish the Veterinary Cooperative Oncology Group and the Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology. Withrow and fellow pioneer radiation oncologist, Dr. Ed Gillette, and others established the first true comprehensive cancer center in veterinary medicine, the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center.
Withrow has been with the Colorado State Veterinary Teaching Hospital since 1978. He was recently named the director of the CSU Academic Cancer Supercluster and the chief scientific officer of NeoTREX, the enterprise arm of the Supercluster. He also is a Colorado State University Distinguished Professor, Stuart University Chair in Oncology and is the only veterinarian admitted as a member of the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society.
Withrow also presented a keynote address at the conference, held in October in San Diego, in which he reflected on his career and privilege of being a veterinarian.