This medical theory tends to undercut the notion of an umbrella vaccine, as the illness and our response depends entirely upon the individual cancer patient.
While this is the general consensus within the cancer community, however, American scientist Stephen Johnston believes it is worth exploring other possibilities.
Johnston told 7News: "They may be right, but if the chance is 10% that it might work, I can't see any reason why we shouldn't take that chance."
Speaking with 7News, Johnston explained why they chose to conduct their study on dogs.
"Cancer is actually the leading cause of death in adult dogs.
"They develop these tumours spontaneously as a result of old age in a way that's very, very similar to the way humans do."
Johnston will also be working with veterinarian Doug Thamm to study the side effects in what will be the largest interventional clinical trial ever in dogs.
Discussing all the different possible outcomes, Thamm remains realistic:
"One is there is less cancer in the dogs that get the vaccine. That would be a huge victory."
"A second outcome that could be, I would argue, almost as valuable, is if we delay the onset of cancer. If we have a 9-year-old dog who would normally get cancer at 10 and instead that dog doesn't get cancer until 12, that's two more years of healthy life that we can potentially provide.
"Of course, there's a third possibility: that the vaccine doesn't work at all."