Using Autologous T–Cells to Treat Canine Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma


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A dog’s own T–cells can be cultured in the laboratory, then re–infused to treat lymphoma. Photo Credit: Jonas Schenk

Replacing Chemotherapy With T–Cell Therapy for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Dogs

Dr. Wilson’s Texas A&M team, working with researchers from MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor University, have succeeded in selectively growing more cytotoxic t–cells and then infusing them back into their canine patients.

With the right balance of t–cells, the dogs’ own bodies were then better able attack the cancerous cells.

While this is great news, there are difficulties in culturing enough t–cells from each dog to complete the treatment.

This limits the number of times a dog can receive infusions, whether or not his t–cells are back to the correct proportion.

But the unexpected success of the initial trial, which was actually designed as a safety study, provides hope.

Canine Lymphoma Treatment: Next Phase

Not only is the team now focused on improving t–cell culturing, they are moving on to the next phase, genetically modifying the t–cells to make them more specifically programmed to attack b–cell lymphoma. The genetic modification should further improve durable remission times. Dog owners interested in helping with this research may be able to get involved in Texas A&M’s clinical trials. The Clinical Trials page on the university’s website explains which dogs are eligible to participate, and how to enroll in the trials.

While increasing long–term remission gives dogs more time, Dr. Wilson’s long–term goal is even more exciting. She told Decoded Science that she hopes eventually to see autologous cell therapy that will be effective enough to replace chemotherapy, so that dogs, and people, do not have to suffer from the significant side effects they presently face during treatment.


O’Connor, C.M. et al. Adoptive t-cell therapy improves treatment of canine non–Hodgkin lymphoma post chemotherapy. (2012). Scientific. Reports. 2, 249; DOI:10.1038/srep00249. Accessed July 4, 2012.

Modiano, J. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Modiano Lab at the University of Minnesota. Accessed July 4, 2012.

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