Feline RNA Nanoparticle Vaccine against Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting cats diagnosed with oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) for a clinical research trial. This investigational trial is for the development of a vaccine for the future treatment of SCC in cats.

  • Inclusion Criteria: Any cat diagnosed with oral squamous cell carcinoma that does not have any other major illnesses. Any definitive therapy (radiation, surgery, chemotherapy, etc.) can be pursued for these patients as part of a standard of care.
  • Treatment: The vaccine will be administered by intravenous infusion over 30 minutes. There will be 3 vaccine visits over 7 weeks. Patients will also be asked to return for recheck visits 2 weeks, 1 month and 3 months after the final vaccine treatment.
  • Cost: The study will cover the cost of the 3 vaccine administration visits, including associated exam fees and pre- and post-administration bloodwork, immune monitoring, and supportive care. The cost of the 2-week, 1-month and 3-month recheck visits will also be covered by the study. Owners will be responsible for the cost of standard, recommended treatment of feline SCC. This includes but is not limited to an initial study evaluation and diagnostics; surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy costs.
  • Contact: Please contact the Clinical Studies Team at (352) 294-4389 or email at VM-ClinicalStudies@ufl.edu.
  • PI: Carlos Souza

Background:

Like humans, cats spontaneously develop oral tumors called squamous cell carcinomas. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a malignant cancer seen in a variety of locations in cats, including the tonsils, under or on the tongue, mouth, and esophagus. The prognosis of both human and feline patients with SCC remains poor with currently available treatment options. Because of this, there is room for research into therapies which have the potential to better treat this disease in both cats and humans. In this trial, we will use the cat’s own tumor sample to create a “personalized” RNA-NP vaccine. If adequate tumor tissue is not available, this immunotherapy can also be given without using the patient’s own tumor tissue as a “non-personalized” vaccine. This is the first feline study in which the personalized ribonucleic acid nanoparticle (RNA-NP) approach is used to help the pet’s own immune system to fight this cancer.

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