‘UK first’ offers fresh hope for canine lymphoma

A new form of personalised immunotherapy based on human medicine is offering enhanced outcomes when combined with traditional chemotherapy treatment for UK dogs.

In what is understood to be the first case of its kind in the UK, a team at Dick White Referrals (DWR) in Cambridgeshire has employed a personally tailored vaccine on a dog.

A six-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever called Yogi was diagnosed with lymphoma by its first opinion vet earlier this year and referred to DWR for a consultation with head of oncology, Davide Berlato.

DWR’s in-house laboratory performed immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry on a biopsy to subtype the lymphoma, and a diagnosis was made of follicular B-cell lymphoma.

‘Improved outcome’

Research has shown that a personalised vaccine – APAVAC, from French company Urodelia – has been shown to be effective against this type of lymphoma.

The study, “Opportunities and challenges of active immunotherapy in dogs with B-cell lymphoma: a 5-year experience in two veterinary oncology centers“, published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, compared dogs treated only with chemotherapy against those treated with chemotherapy in tandem with APAVAC.

The authors concluded: “Overall, the addition of immunotherapy to a traditional CHOP protocol is associated with improved outcome in dogs with B-cell lymphoma, regardless of histotype and evaluated prognostic factors.”

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