Canine Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Vaccine Shows Promise


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Present Standard Treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in Dogs
The standard treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma has been chemotherapy, generally using multiple drugs, but dogs treated with combination chemotherapy rarely remain in remission for more than a year. Once a dog starts showing clinical signs of cancer again, a second round of chemotherapy may be given, using different drugs to counteract the resistance that the cancer cells often develop to the first medications. The second round of chemotherapy, termed salvage therapy, generally results in remission of a much shorter duration, often only half as long as the initial remission.

How the RNA-loaded CD40-B Vaccine Helps in Treatment of Non–Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
The RNA-loaded CD40-B vaccine, developed from canine B cells (lymphocytes which produce antibodies) and tumor RNA, stimulates the immune system and, because it has some of the RNA of the cancer in it, helps the body to recognize the cells which need to be destroyed. By first treating the cancer with standard chemotherapeutic drugs, the tumor mass is decreased. The vaccine is given when the dogs are in remission and the immunosuppressive impact of the chemotherapy is reduced, allowing the immune system to function more effectively.

Canine Study of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Looks Hopeful

Vaccine Shows Promise for Dogs With Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Photo Credit:Jason McELweenie

RNA-loaded CD40–Activated B Cell Cancer Vaccine May Improve Remission Rates

At this stage, the vaccine appears to be effective in improving the chance of a durable (long term) second remission. In the control group, which did not receive the vaccine, only 3% of the dogs who received salvage therapy achieved durable second remission as compared to the vaccinated dogs where 40% achieved durable second remission.

The number of dogs in the study, conducted by Dr. Karin Sorenmo, et al. of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine was small, so further clinical research will be necessary to better understand how chemotherapy and the RNA-loaded CD40-B vaccine work synergistically to improve remission rates and to ensure that the results achieved in this study are transferrable to a larger population.According to Dr. Soremno, the next phase of clinical trials has not yet begun.  The preliminary study does, however, suggest that the addition of the RNA-loaded CD40-B vaccine to the treatment protocol for dogs in remission from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma may result in longer remission for some dogs.

Sorenmo KU, Krick E, Coughlin CM, Overley B, Gregor TP, et al. (2011) CD40-Activated B Cell Cancer Vaccine Improves Second Clinical Remission and Survival in Privately Owned Dogs with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. PLoS ONE 6(8): e24167. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024167. accessed online 10.20.11

Mayo Clinic. 2011. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Accessed online 10.20.11

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