Experimental canine anti-cancer vaccine could help in developing one for human use

March 7, 2006

Madison, Wis. -- An anti-cancer vaccine developed to treat dogs with melanoma may help in the development of similar cancer treatments for humans.

Madison, Wis.-An anti-cancer vaccine developed to treat dogs with melanoma may help in the development of similar cancer treatments for humans.

The experimental canine anti-cancer vaccine has been produced at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine since 1998. Researchers said not all dogs with melanoma respond to the treatment, but those that do seem to do well. They said about 40 percent of dogs with melanoma respond to this injected anti-cancer vaccine, and that tumors disappeared completely in 12.5 percent of dogs treated with the vaccine.

The vaccine is created from laboratory-grown canine melanoma tumor cells, which are treated so they are no longer able to divide. DNA then is inserted into the cells, causing them to secrete an immune stimulant. Researchers said the combination of cells and immune stimulant is designed to stimulate the dog’s immune system to fight melanoma cells, the researchers said.

Researchers said current results are promising, but funding problems prevent them from conducting further research to improve the vaccine and increase the percentage of dogs that respond to it. They said the theory behind the vaccine may, with further research, prove to be instructive in developing a similar vaccine for humans.