Cancer vaccine now in clinical trials

Specialists from the Veterinary Specialty Center of the Hudson Valley in Wappingers Falls, NY, are conducting a pilot study with a cancer vaccine that may prolong survival in dogs with osteosarcoma and cats with mammary cancer.

The study will test whether an adenovirus-based vaccine followed by a DNA plasmid administered via electrogenetransfer can elicit anti-tumor immunity and increase survival times. The vaccine targets this Her2/neu pathway of tumorigenesis allowing the body's immune system to battle the cancer in addition to standard therapies.

Most dogs undergo amputation and chemotherapy for bone cancer with median survival of about one year due to metastatic spread to the lungs. The vaccine will be an additional therapy to standard of care treatment.

Up to 50 percent of dogs with osteosarcoma will express the Her2/neu genetic marker. In cats, Her2/neu has been expressed in breast cancer and despite surgical removal of the glands, metastasis is common.


Currently, the vaccine is a series of five treatments (2 adenovirus/Her2/neu) followed by three DNA/plasmid administered via electrogenetherapy (EGT). Each is administered every two weeks and there is an option for continued monthly boosters for those patients maintaining remission. The first two adenovirus vaccines (prime) are administered via simple intra-muscular injection. The last three of the series (boosters) are administered under a short anesthesia via EGT.

No placebos are involved and the study is unfunded and must take place at this location due to USDA regulations.

This immunotherapy is an extension of the center's telomerase cancer vaccine that has shown success against canine lymphoma in Europe. 

For more information, go to If you know of a patient that may benefit from this vaccine, contact the Center at 845-632-3200 or [email protected].

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