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2018 Osteosarcoma Vaccine

Over the past several years there have been incredible breakthroughs in the concept of immune therapy as a form of fighting osteosarcoma in dogs.  The immune system plays an important role in finding and targeting cancer cells, eventually killing them.

The osteosarcoma vaccine is made from a highly weakened bacteria (Listeria monocytogenes).  The weakened bacteria does not cause disease when the vaccine is administered.  The bacteria in the vaccine has been genetically modified to target a tumor protein (HER-2/neu) found in many cancer cells, including canine bone cancer cells.  The vaccine then seeks out bone cancer cells and destroys them with the help of the immune system.

The initial pilot study was done at the University of Pennsylvania. Eighteen dogs received the treatment after undergoing amputation and standard chemotherapy.  Those dogs lived more than twice as long as the control group of (amputation plus chemotherapy) dogs who did not receive the vaccine.  The vaccine was given intravenously, in three initial doses three weeks apart, after chemotherapy was completed. Dogs were also eligible for booster doses of the vaccine after 6-8 months.  

As a result of this study, the pharmaceutical company Aratana Therapeutics received conditional licensure for Live Listeria Vector (AT-014), and expanded its clinical trial.  The hope is that the additional studies will confirm the safety, efficacy and prolongation of quality survival time, and eventually lead to a commercially available vaccine.

If the treatment is found to be as safe and effective as it appeared in the initial clinical trial, Aratana will be given full licensure, allowing it to make the drug commercially available.

The following clinics are participating in the expanded trial. Please note that additional hospitals and clinics may be added to this list.  Check with your oncologist or primary veterinarian.

  • Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center, Tucson, Ariz.
  • Veterinary Cancer Group of Los Angeles, Culver City, Calif.
  • SAGE Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care, Campbell, Calif.
  • Veterinary Specialty Hospital by ETHOS, San Diego, Calif.
  • VRCC Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital, Englewood, Colo.
  • Veterinary Cancer Center, Norwalk, Conn.
  • Southeast Veterinary Oncology and Internal Medicine, Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Blue Pearl Specialty + Emergency Pet Hospital, Tampa, Fla.
  • MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets, Carmel, Ind.
  • Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
  • Blue Pearl Specialty + Emergency Pet Hospital, Overland Park, Kans.
  • New England Veterinary Oncology Group, Waltham, Mass.
  • Blue Pearl Specialty + Emergency Pet Hospital, Southfield, Mich.
  • Oradell Animal Hospital, Paramus, N.J.
  • VCA Veterinary Care Animal Hospital and Referral Center, Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Katonah Bedford Veterinary Center, Bedford Hills, N.Y.
  • MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets – Columbus, Worthington, Ohio
  • Veterinary Cancer & Surgery Specialists, Milwaukie, Ore.
  • Hope Veterinary Specialists, Malvern, Penn.
  • Upstate Veterinary Specialists, Greenville, S.C.
  • Sugar Land Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Care, Sugar Land, Tex.
  • Veterinary Specialist of North Texas, Ft. Worth, Tex.
  • The LifeCentre, Springfield, Va.
  • Bridge Animal Referral Center, Edmonds, Wash.
  • Wisconsin Veterinary Referral Center, Waukesha, Wis.