NEWS

Science develops cancer vaccine for dogs

Humans could be next
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A scientist out of Arizona State University’s Center for Innovations in Medicine has recently launched a trial to test a new cancer vaccine in dogs. If the vaccine works, the scientists believe it could pave the way for a similar vaccine for humans. 

WATCH! A cancer vaccine is currently being tested on dogs

There are varying types of cancer, and the widely accepted theory within cancer research is that each cancer is personal. This boils down to our general makeup as humans as every person is different on a molecular level, and as such, each tumour grows in a way to beat your immune system, which is why many oncologists believe we will all have – to some degree – a different immune response

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. 

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(Credit: Getty)

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.” 

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