A New Cancer Treatment for Dogs

A cancer therapy that was until now only available for humans has been developed for dogs.

Scientists from the Messerli Research Institute of the Vetmeduni Vienna, the Medical University of Vienna, and the University of Vienna have developed a way to use cancer immunotherapy on dogs.

Almost half of dogs ten years or older develop cancer.

Cancer immunotherapy, which attacks tumors through the use of antibodies, is an established method for treating human cancer patients. It works by causing a “destructive” signal via the antibody to the inside of the cancer cell, causing the cell’s death.

In the new study, scientists bound the antibody to cancer cells in dogs after altering it to work with the animals. Josef Singer and Judith Fazekas, lead authors of the study, discovered that a receptor frequently found on human tumor cells (epidermal growth factor receptor or EGFR) is nearly 100 percent identical with the EGF receptor in dogs.

The head of the study, Professor Erika Jensen-Jarolim said that the researchers “expect dogs to tolerate these anti-cancer antibodies well. This will be investigated in clinical studies in the future and is expected to greatly improve the treatment as well as the diagnosis of cancer in dogs.”

The scientists published their findings in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

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