Canine Melanoma Vaccine Brings Hope to Dogs With Melanoma

The ONCEPT canine melanoma vaccine is the first therapeutic vaccine for cancer treatment to receive full license approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This vaccine was developed by the joint efforts of Merial, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and The Animal Medical Center (AMC) of New York.

Canine melanoma vaccine is used for treating melanoma in dogs, and not preventing cancer (although the term ‘vaccine’ usually means disease prevention).

Canine melanoma that occurs in the mouth, eye, nail and footpad is highly malignant. It is an aggressive skin cancer that tends to spread rapidly to other parts of the body. Canine melanoma may form lumps or masses that are brown or black in colour. By the time melanoma in dogs is been diagnosed, the cancer is likely to have metastasized.

To date, the conventional treatment for canine melanoma is surgery and radiation.

“Canine melanoma spreads readily, and, unfortunately, existing treatments have not succeeded in controlling the disease,” said Dr. Bob Menardi, a veterinarian and spokesperson for Merial. “ONCEPT is a new adjunct treatment option for dogs that have been diagnosed with this often fatal disease.”

In the initial clinical studies of ONCEPT canine melanoma vaccine, the average survival time for dogs with stages 2-4 melanoma was 389 days. This is a significant increase in survival when compared to the average survival time of 3-6 months under conventional treatment.

Do you have a dog that has melanoma? Can your dog be treated this vaccine? Consult with a vet oncologist for advice.

The canine melanoma vaccine is available to veterinary oncologists. Go to Veterinary Cancer Society – http://www.vetcancersociety.org – to find the nearest veterinary oncologist.

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