First cancer immunotherapy for dogs

The Local Austria
The Local Austria - [email protected]
First cancer immunotherapy for dogs
There is hope for man's four-legged friend. Photo: APA/Becker

Scientists in Vienna have developed antibodies which can be used to treat cancer in dogs.


Nearly every second domestic dog aged ten and older develops some form of cancer.

A few therapies derived from human medicine are available for dogs, but until now a successful form of therapy by which antibodies inhibit tumour growth has not been available for animals.

The scientists, from the Messerli Research Institute of the Vetmeduni Vienna, the Medical University of Vienna, and the University of Vienna, published their research data in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

So-called cancer immunotherapy - where tumours are treated using antibodies - has been used very successfully in human medicine for about 20 years.

Josef Singer and Judith Fazekas, the lead authors of the study, discovered that a receptor frequently found on human tumour cells (epidermal growth factor receptor) is nearly 100 percent identical with the EGF receptor in dogs.

In human medicine EGFR is frequently used as the target of cancer immunotherapy because many cancer cells bear this receptor on their surface. The so-called anti-EGFR antibody binds to cancer cells and triggers the destruction of the cells.

"Due to the high similarity of the receptor in humans and dogs, this type of therapy should work well in dogs too," the scientists said.

"Vienna’s Veterinary Medical University will be the first centre in the world to offer the most modern immunological cancer diagnosis procedure for dogs… By using this approach, we will be able to initiate improvements that will benefit humans as well," said Professor Erika Jensen-Jarolim, the head of the study.

As in humans, cancers in dogs have complex causes. Environment, food, and genetic disposition are all known to play a role.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also