On Friday, Nov. 15th, the CNN number of the day was 10,000.
The anticancer vaccine being tested is made up of a proprietary cocktail developed by Johnston’s ASU team that targets approximately 30 abnormal proteins found on the surface of cancer cells. These proteins, a result of improperly coded RNA — so-called frame-shift mutations — are generally only found in patients with cancer (in both dogs and people).
By injecting this cluster of proteins into healthy patients, along with a substance that stimulates an immune response, researchers believe the vaccine could serve as a universal defender against cancer by “turning on” the immune system to recognize and defeat cancer.
The vaccine can target several cancers common to dogs, including lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system; osteosarcoma, or bone cancer; hemangiosarcoma, a deadly cancer that originates in the blood vessels and is almost exclusive to dogs; and mastocytomas, or mast cell tumors.
The trial is slated to run over five years. Cancer-free, healthy dogs between the ages of 6 and 10 will be randomized to receive either a series of the investigational vaccine or placebo vaccines. Healthy, middle-aged pet dogs will be enrolled, continuing to live their normal lives at home and receiving biannual exams with a complete clinical pathology workup.
Dogs will be randomly chosen to receive either the vaccine or a mock version. Dogs receiving the mock vaccine are expected to develop cancer at normal rates. The experiment will determine whether the test vaccine can prevent cancers.
Two sets of vaccines will be given every two weeks, for a total of four treatments, and then annually. Researchers have not observed any side effects other than those typical to any vaccine in mice or dogs to date, such as moderate local pain or swelling at the site of injection, but the study will characterize any unanticipated adverse reactions in the larger study population.
Participating dogs will live at home and be checked two to three times yearly for five years after enrollment to monitor them for the development of any cancers.
“We should know as soon as two years from now whether or not we see the vaccine is having an effect,” said Johnston.
Trial description excerpted from:
World’s largest canine cancer vaccine trial begins