The Dutch researchers from the Cancer Center Amsterdam, the Veterinary Referral Centre Korte Akkeren, EARA member the University of Maastricht, Amsterdam UMC, and from the School of Pharmaceutical Science, Switzerland, have developed a vaccine, called Griffioen, named after Arjan Griffioen, professor of Experimental Oncology at Amsterdam UMC. Previous research showed that the blood that feeds cancer tumours has a protein called vimentin, which plays an important role in turning off the immune system. Now studies in laboratory mice and pet dogs suffering from cancer, published in Nature Communications, show that the vaccine can block the creation of vimentin inside the tumours and seems to be an effective therapy against the tumours as well. The researchers treated 35 dogs, suffering from bladder and bone cancer, with the vaccine - half of them survived to the end of the 400-day test period, and two of them fully recovered. Among the dog patients, was Rax a 10-year old dog, who had developed bone cancer. After treatment the tumours disappeared and the dog returned to normal health.
The dog’s owner said: "Rax is still so strong and sprightly, we wanted to give him a chance. The most important consideration was whether he would still have quality of life after the operation. Looking back, we made the right choice; he is his old self again." The team hope that this research will contribute to a cancer vaccine that also works for humans.
This week, on Wednesday, 8 June, Amsterdam UMC will host a conference (1300-1700) Proefdier(vrij) onderzoek in Amsterdam UMC – Waar staan we nu? (Animal(free) research in Amsterdam UMC – Where are we now?).