These dogs are getting a cancer vaccine. If it works, humans could be next
Via: Jasper2529 • 9 months ago • 38 comments
"Cancer is actually the leading cause of death in adult dogs," Thamm says. "They develop these tumors spontaneously as a result of old age in a way that's very, very similar to the way humans do."
If you ask most experts in the cancer community, creating a wide-ranging vaccine that prevents tumors like we prevent infectious diseases is damn near impossible.
The idea may be tantalizing, but study after study over the past several decades has taught doctors that cancer is personal. Everyone's looks different on a molecular level. And each tumor is an agile, devious adversary that mutates as it grows to outwit the human immune system.
"They may be right," Stephen Johnston says, but "if the chance is 10% that it might work, I can't see any reason why we shouldn't take that chance."
Johnston isn't an oncologist. He's a scientist, inventor and director of Arizona State University's Center for Innovations in Medicine. He recently launched a clinical trial to test a cancer vaccine in hundreds of dogs across the country. The trial will examine whether the vaccine delays or prevents a variety of cancers in healthy, older dogs. If it's successful, Johnston says, it could lay the groundwork for developing a similar vaccine for humans.
Many canine cancers are also similar to human cancers on a molecular level. This has a lot to do with our shared environments, Thamm explains -- we breathe the same air, drink the same water, run on lawns sprayed with the same chemicals. Thamm told Johnston dogs are also ideal for a study like this because they don't live as long as humans, so researchers will be able to see whether the vaccine works in three to five years instead of 10 to 30.
So Thamm and Johnston decided to undertake what they say is the largest interventional clinical trial ever in canines. It's called the Vaccination Against Canine Cancer Study .
Full article and video here .