I just arrived at the Sheraton hotel in Sacramento and am looking forward to attending the Winn Feline Foundation Symposium at UC Davis tomorrow. Sitting in this hotel room, memories came flooding back of the many nights I stayed here while Miss Bean received the experimental GC376 during the first drug trial on real world cats in 2016. While her condition went up and down, in the forth week she had a seizure and Dr Pedersen himself helped her cross the Rainbow Bridge. While the memories of her death remain very painful, I am consoled by her legacy that continues to ripple out into the world.
It was during her treatment that I was inspired to create ZenByCat to raise money for Dr Pedersen's group SOCKFIP and The Bria Fund. It has been a steep learning curve but by the end of this year ZenByCat will have donated more than $75,000 to researchers working on ending FIP. None of that would have happened without Miss Beans existence.
Much was learned in that first trial from Miss Bean and other FIP Warriors who did not make it, including that 12 weeks of treatment was needed to beat FIP. Smokey was one of the last kittens to enter that trial and thus benefited from the longer treatment period. He went on to become one of the first 5 real world cats cured of FIP. Smokey would not even have made it into the trial if Miss Bean had not lost her battle.
The second trial (GS441524) used the 12 week treatment protocol learned from Beans trial and had a success rate greater than 80%!
Unregulated versions of these drugs are now treating and curing hundreds of cats in the US and thousands more around the world.
Absolutely there is so much more work to do. Without question the unregulated drugs pose significant challenges and the costs are still out of reach to most cat owners. For every thrilled human whose FIP Warrior wins the battle against FIP, there are many more grieving for their fallen warriors. More research to find better, cheaper, faster, and easier treatments is needed now more than ever and ZenByCat and others will continue to work hard to raise the money to end FIP for all cats.
That said, the fight to end FIP has come a long way. I miss Bean. I wish she could have lived.
The fight continues...
Trigger Warning: This video might be difficult for some to watch. For me, I find strength and inspiration from remembering Miss Beans journey.