An experimental vaccine developed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine is the first veterinary cancer vaccine to show an increase in survival time for dogs with spontaneous non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Study co-author Nicola Mason, an assistant professor of medicine at Penn Vet, says the research shows for the first time the feasibility and effectiveness of an alternative cell-based vaccine, which could be employed in the treatment of a number of different cancer types, she says.
“We vaccinated dogs, which were in clinical remission following chemotherapy, three times,” Mason says. “We then tracked them over several years to see if the vaccine would prevent relapse and would prolong overall survival.”
The researchers found that the vaccinated dogs had significantly increased overall survival when compared to the unvaccinated control group. “Some of these dogs are still alive and cancer-free more than three years later,” Mason says.
While the molecular mechanisms responsible for these synergistic effects are currently unknown, Mason believes that the dogs’ vaccine-primed immune system may be boosted by the effects of chemotherapy.
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