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LSU's Live Tiger Mascot Mike VI Begins Radiation Treatment Against Rare Form of Cancer

Jun 01, 2016 03:06 AM EDT

The live tiger mascot of Louisiana State University has undergone the first step in its treatment against a rare type of cancer.

The tiger, named, Mike VI, was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma, a type of connective tissue cancer, last May 12, after he was taken to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine for a physical examination and diagnostic studies.

According to the press release of LSU, the 11-year old Bengal-Siberian mix tiger has been at LSU since he was two. The popular live tiger mascot was anesthetized and transported to Mary Bird Perkins - Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center last May 28. Mike VI underwent radiation treatment simulation.

During the treatment, veterinarians from the Cancer Center acquired multiple CT scans to create a map of Mike's face to be used in treatment planning. The Cancer Center team plans to the images to precisely target the tumor using stereotactic radiotherapy, or SRT.

SRT delivers the radiation precisely at the tumor, sparing the surrounding normal tissues of any severe damage. The treatment can either be given in single high dose or using stereotactic radiotherapy, or SRT.

However, the treatment will not cure Mike VI. It will only extend Mike's life for a couple of years. Without the treatment veterinarians gave Mike one to two months to live, but with the treatment, doctors believe that Mike can live for another year or two.

According to the report from NBC Sports, LSU chose the Cancer Center to treat Mike due to its longstanding relationship with the LSU School of Veterinary. Furthermore, all the necessary facilities and technologies required for Mike's SRT treatment are available in the Cancer Center.

After Mike's successful planning simulation, he was brought back to his night house on the LSU campus. Mike is closely monitored by LSU's attending veterinarian David Baker, DVM, PhD, and his veterinary student caretakers.

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