Vaccine study for Dogs with Osteosarcoma

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

  • Inclusion Criteria: Any dog recently diagnosed osteosarcoma and does not have other life threatening diseases and has not received any chemotherapy.  More specific inclusion criteria will be discussed with you during your pet’s evaluation.  Your dog will have the vaccine in addition to whichever standard of care therapy you choose (amputation+chemotherap or radiation+chemotherapy).
  • Treatment: The vaccine will be given over 4 visits approximately 3 weeks apart in addition to 6 chemotherapy visits.  The chemotherapy visits will be scheduled 2 weeks prior to each vaccine visit. At each visit, blood will also be drawn to measure the immune response.
  • Cost: The study will cover only the cost of the vaccine at each of the four visits (i.e. approximately $560 per dog for 4 vaccines) to a maximum of 20 dogs. Complications due to the vaccine are not expected, but should any arise, the study will pay for those treatments directly associated with the injection site reaction to a maximum of $100.00. No other costs will be covered.  The costs for amputation, chemotherapy and radiation are not covered as part of this study and will be discussed with you during your evaluation appointment. You will need to schedule an Oncology Evaluation Appointment for your dog.  This evaluation appointment is not covered by the study but is a pre-requisite for determining eligibility and does not guarantee that your dog will qualify to receive the vaccine.
  • Contact:  Contact the Oncology Staff at the Small Animal Hospital 352-392-2235 or by email at
  • PI: Dr. Rowan Milner


Osteosarcoma is malignant cancer of both young humans and animals. The standard of care for humans and dogs with osteosarcoma is surgery followed by chemotherapy. Unfortunately, a large number of these osteosarcomas undergo early metastasis (spread) following surgery. This occurs even when surgery is done early and the tumor is removed in its entirety and chemotherapy is given. Infections of the osteosarcoma surgery site have been known to cause an immune reaction in people and animals improving overall survival. Since overall survival is dismal in patients with osteosarcoma, developing an osteosarcoma cancer vaccine holds promise as an adjunct treatment to surgery and chemotherapy. In a previous study of 400 dogs with melanoma we showed that a vaccine containing the ganglioside (GD3) causes a measurable immune response in normal dogs and dogs with melanoma and prolonged survival.