Canine Cancer Patients Help Researchers Advance With Vaccine


Four million dogs are diagnosed with cancer every year.

One canine cancer patient, Kyra, is not only a survivor of cancer but she is helping researchers in their search for a cancer vaccine.

Two years ago, Kyra’s owner noticed a lump on this ten-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback’s leg. Kyra’s owner, a nurse, knew right away that her dog had lymphoma.

Kyra’s owner enrolled her in a revolutionary vaccine study at the University of Pennsylvania where veterinarians and human oncologists were working together.

For these researchers, working with dogs has been extremely helpful because canine cancer is very similar to human cancer. The cancer looks, behaves, and responds to treatment similarly.

Since dogs age faster, scientists can receive results of their studies at a quicker rate.

With Kyra, doctors took genetic material from the cancerous tumor and implanted it in healthy infection-fighting b-cells outside the body to train them to attack the lymphoma, and then injected it back into Kyra.

Now, Kyra is back to her healthy and normal self. Both Kyra and several other dogs in the study are cancer-free.

Scientists estimate that they are within two years of testing the vaccine on humans.

One scientist said, “If we didn’t have this information that we’re learning from vaccinating people’s pets, we would still be studying the vaccine in laboratory dishes without a real hope of going forward in the near future.”

Kyra’s owner added that someday when this vaccine is given to people, she can tell them it came from man’s best friend.

Source: ABC News

(Thanks Stefani)

10 Responses to “Canine Cancer Patients Help Researchers Advance With Vaccine”

  1. G in INdiana says:

    My husband just went through 6 months (8 treatments, approx. 3 weeks apart) for B-cell and follicular lymphoma (the doctors were not exactly sure what kind he had or in what combination). This treatment would have been so much easier on him than what he went through. I hope they fast track this to help other people so they don’t have to go through the agony of chemotherapy. It did work as he is cancer free for now, but this type of cancer can and often does come back within 5 to 10 years.

  2. Jane Anderson says:

    My God can other university small animal clinics consult with this place? And for other types of cancer too? My dear little dog has had 2 mast cell tumors a year apart. (Not related, totally seperate tumors) Right now she is in total remission but I have been told if it comes back then that’s it. It would give me hope, and ease my jangled nerves if my university clinic could send some genetic material from anything new to this university, they do the work then send the fighter cells back so my university clinic could implant them in my dog. Hopefully my dog will never get a relapse or anymore new tumors. But if it ever happens again, it would sure feel good to know that there is hope out there.

  3. Linda says:

    Wow! What a discovery. After going through chemo myself for lymphoma, this is a wonderful breakthrough, not only for our companions, but ourselves. I pray this treatment will become the norm for cancer patients, be they human or animal.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi everyone, I lost my pup Muffin to lymphoma in 2004. she was 7 years old a little shihtzu. we tried the chemo and got a remission for a little while. she lived 11 months after diognesses and i would not put another put through this treatment. it was just to much for her and I hope to god for the people and the little precious fur babies they can come up with something better. Linda we have a friend from michigan of ours name Linda that is fighting this too. She is having such a hard time right now. my neighbor had lymphoma in 1988 though and is still in remission. so don’t give up and keep on fighting. I am not sure what treatment she went though. sincerely, Denise

  5. Marie says:

    I wish all research on animals were as benign and promising as this seems to be at this point in time. And if the treatment is only successful in dogs, that will still make dog owners very grateful to the dogs that pioneered this treatment.

  6. Denise says:

    the pup in the picture is getting treatment and it brings back nightmares for me about muffin. I would never again put a dog though that unless it was promising. they gave her a 5% chance and it is paiful for them to go through all of that.

  7. Dee says:

    Denise, this treatment is not chemo. It’s much better and doesn’t carry all the side effects associated with chemo, with much more promising results. (Of course, response would be dependent upon what stage the cancer reaches before it is diagnosed.)

    My heartfelt condolences for your little Muffin. :’(

  8. Dee says:

    I’m really surprised that someone gave this only 1 star. It had 2 votes, for an average of 3. I gave it a 5 to increase it at least a little bit. I think it’s an excellent and informative post, and I’m really glad that someone cared enough to post it. I hope everyone clicks the source link to read the entire article.

  9. KAEfamily says:

    More of a reason for us humans to treat animals, especially our companion animals, even better.

  10. Maureen Brownell says:

    That picture really brought back some memories. My doberman was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer in 2004. He was only three at the time. We took him to the Guelph Veterinary Clinic in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. He underwent 26 weeks of chemo and I happy to say he is still with us today.

    He is one of the lucky ones. All during his treatment he never showed any signs of side effects.

    I’m glad to see more treatment options are becoming available. Although our doberman literally breezed through the treatment others suffered a lot of the side effects. It was heart wrenching seeing how some of the other patients were suffering.

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