Revolutionizing Canine Health: Breakthrough Cancer Vaccine Offers Hope for a Cancer-Free Future


by Barbara Csernai


In a groundbreaking development, a new canine cancer vaccine is demonstrating significant promise in clinical trials, raising hopes for a future where our beloved dogs can live cancer-free lives. Cancer stands as the leading cause of death among senior dogs, a reality many pet owners have sadly witnessed. The potential offered by this vaccine holds the promise of changing that narrative.

The brainchild of Stephen Johnston, CEO of Calviri, the canine cancer vaccine project began around 15 years ago. Despite initial skepticism, Johnston’s determination led to successful studies in mice, proving the feasibility of a cancer prevention vaccine. After years of meticulous research and development, a vaccine was created, and clinical trials commenced. The ongoing trial, known as The Vaccination Against Canine Cancer Study, is currently open for enrollment for dogs meeting specific qualifications.

How the Vaccine Operates

The canine cancer vaccine focuses on targeting “mistakes” made by tumors, referred to as neoantigens, which can trigger an immune system response. Using DNA technology, Johnston’s team identified 30 specific neoantigens among 1.4 million possibilities and incorporated them into the vaccine. The process is akin to traditional vaccinations, preparing the immune system to defend against tumors as soon as they arise.

The vaccine aims to prevent eight major types of canine cancer, including mast cell tumors, osteosarcoma, lymphoma, melanoma, mammary cancer, lung cancer, soft tissue carcinomas, and hemangiosarcoma.

Promising Results and Future Challenges

While clinical trials are ongoing, current results indicate a 65 percent reduction in the number of tumors for vaccinated dogs. Despite these promising outcomes, Johnston acknowledges the need for further improvement, particularly in preventing hemangiosarcoma. The next version of the vaccine will address this deficiency by incorporating components specific to hemangiosarcoma.

Concerns about potential autoimmune responses have been raised, but Johnston reassures that safety issues have not arisen during the trials.

Unexpected Benefits

Beyond cancer prevention, trials have unveiled an unexpected reduction of over 50 percent in the incidence of non-cancer chronic diseases, such as arthritis and metabolic diseases. This unexpected immune response appears to target senescent cells, known as zombie cells, believed to be the root of many chronic diseases.

The Future of Canine Cancer Prevention

While the vaccine awaits USDA approval and further trials, Johnston emphasizes its affordability when it becomes available. The goal from the outset has been to create a product that everyone can afford. The potential of this vaccine to revolutionize canine health by significantly reducing the risk of cancer offers hope not only for our canine companions but also for potential applications in human cancer prevention.

As the vaccine inches closer to public availability, the vision of a cancer-free future for our dogs, and potentially for ourselves, becomes a tangible possibility.

Source: Jenna Stregowski, RVT / Daily Paws