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Vaccine Study for Dogs with Melanoma

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting dogs recently diagnosed with malignant melanoma for a clinical research trial.  This investigational trial is for the development of a vaccine for the future treatment or prevention of melanoma in dogs.

  • Inclusion Criteria: Any dog recently diagnosed witth malignant melanoma that is resectable or minimal and does not have other life threatening diseases.  The doctors will explain this to you.
  • Treatment: Participation involves an initial staging visit and 4 follow up visits. The vaccine will be given 3 times approximately 4 weeks apart followed by 2 restaging visits. Booster vaccines will also be available 6 months after completion of the entire vaccine series at an additional charge.
  • Cost: Owners are expected to pay in advance for the cost of vaccines and initial examination. The total for this first staging visit is estimated to be $1025.00. Subsequent visits will be responsibility of the client.
  • Contact:  Contact the Oncology Staff at the Small Animal Hospital 1-866-247-7950 or 352-392-2235 or Dr. Rowan Milner at milnerr@ufl.edu

Background:

Melanoma (cancer of pigment producing cells in the body) is malignant cancer in both humans and animals.  Some forms of melanoma in the dog follow a similar aggressive pathway as it does in humans.  The main treatment for melanoma in dogs is surgery, however this cancer often spreads in the body and shortens the survival time.  Radiation treatment and chemotherapy have been used in combination with surgery but results are still poor.  Because this type of cancer has been known to cause an immune reaction in people and in animals, developing a vaccine holds promise to use in addition to surgery.  Vaccines are often used because they stimulate a response inside the body to fight infection or prevent infection. It is our hope that this vaccine will stimulate a response in the body to kill the cancer that is present.  In prior laboratory experiments and clinical trials in healthy dogs, we have seen that this vaccine causes the body to produce a response that kills melanoma cells.