We never get enough time with our dogs before they cross the Rainbow Bridge. But, furbaby parents rejoice! There is new hope on the horizon. Groundbreaking research is being conducted across the country on a vaccine for cancer in dogs. The results are promising so far!
It’s called the Vaccination Against Canine Cancer study and it’s the biggest clinical trial ever conducted on dogs. So far there are about 150 dogs that are participating. The dogs are being seen at Colorado State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California-Davis.
The Vaccine May Prove To Be Life-Changing For Our Four-Legged Family Members
Stephanie Foster is the mom of Fraser, a Chocolate Lab. She knew the vaccine trial was something she wanted to get Frasier in on as soon as she heard about it. Cancer has affected her personally, with a breast cancer diagnosis for herself after losing her dad to cancer when she was still in high school. Foster relied on her dog, Maple, to get her through the trenches of breast cancer treatments. Sadly, Maple was diagnosed with lymphoma the year after Foster finished cancer treatments. Maple passed away just nine months after her lymphoma diagnosis.
“Whatever I can do to help this cause, I want to do it,” Foster told the Denver Post.
The vaccine has been proven to prevent cancer in mice. It’s also safe for use in dogs. Research has been made possible by a $6.4 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project. The Open Philanthropy Project aims to fund the “most important, neglected, and tractable” areas where further research is needed.
How Does It Work?
Dr. Douglas Thamm is the director of clinical research at the Colorado State University James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. He explained how the vaccine works for the Denver Post.
“The reason flu vaccines work is they train your immune system to respond quickly and effectively if they encounter the flu later… This vaccine shows the immune system some stuff that might be present on tumors that develop in the future, and if the immune system sees those things, they can rev up quickly and efficiently.”
Astonishingly, only one dog out of the nearly 150 enrolled so far has been diagnosed with cancer! The tumor on this dog was present about a month and a half into the research so it is believed that it had already started growing by the time he received the vaccine. Nevertheless, the tumor was removed and the dog has been doing great!
What Outcomes Are They Hoping For?
The study is scheduled to last five years. There are three outcomes they hope to see within that five-year span.
- Less cancer in ALL dogs who received the vaccine.
- Some cancers were prevented.
- Some cancers were delayed.
Of course, the best-case scenario would be if all dogs remained cancer-free but the research team says they will be happy if they are able to just extend a dog’s life.
“If the average dogs have two or three extra years of healthy life before they get cancer, I would argue that’s also incredibly valuable,” Thamm said. “That could transfer to maybe five or 10 years of a delay in people.”
The research is exciting because of the potential for future expansion. If we can prevent cancer in dogs, what will stop us from preventing it in humans? Check out the criteria here if you’re interested in having your pup participate.
h/t: The Denver Post
Featured Photo: @TheDoughertyDogs/Instagram