A University of Queensland trial of a new injectable treatment for canine cancer has shown early results in slowing down and ultimately reversing the growth of a tumour.
UQ PhD candidate and veterinarian Moira Brennan said the vaccine was in the early stages of testing and had apparently worked for its first patient, a dog with an inoperable terminal mast cell tumour.
“The treatment, which stimulates an immune response in the tumour, has been tolerated exceedingly well in the first dog trialled – a rottweiler named Jackson,” Ms Brennan said.
“We were pleased that Jackson’s tumour, which had failed to respond to traditional chemotherapy, appears to have disappeared as a result of this experimental treatment.”
The long-term effects of the treatment are unknown, and Ms Brennan is recruiting other dogs with untreatable mast cell tumour or malignant melanoma to join this trial.
“What we are hoping to see in future candidates is a slowing down or arresting of the growth of the tumour we inject, leading to an increase in the length and quality of life.”
Ms Brennan said the trial involved a one-off injection of a small volume of a potent immune stimulant called Complete Freund’s Adjuvant into the tumour.
“Our treatment stimulates an immune response to the tumour, so we also hope to have a good response in animals where the cancer has spread through the body,” she said.
The trial was designed by Ms Brennan’s PhD supervisor, Dr Rachel Allavena, based on a scientific theory developed by Dr Aude Fahrer at Australia’s National University (ANU).
Participation in the trial is free, but owners and dogs must be able to travel to the Veterinary Medical Centre at UQ’s Gatton Campus for initial treatment and follow-up.