Dog cancer vaccine could help humans - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Dog cancer vaccine could help humans

NATIONAL (NBC) - Cancer not only affects humans, it also affects man's best friend. It has shown to be the number one killer of dogs.

Veterinarians are now testing a new cancer vaccine for dogs, and if successful it may eventually help humans battle the disease.

Coco is a 13-year-old Pomeranian with malignant melanoma and Callie, a seven-year-old golden retriever, has the same cancer.

Tucson Veterinary Oncologist Mary Kay Klein has been treating both dogs with an experimental Canine Melanoma Vaccine.

"Our family just loves her. And we wouldn't know what to do without her," said Callie's owner Gene DiLuigi.

DiLuigi drives seven hours from California to get Callie treated.

"All in all it looks like she's cancer free," said DiLuigi.

"I will tell you that I couldn't be more pleased," said Klein.

Dr. Klein says tests have gone so well that recently the vaccine was conditionally approved for commercial use in dogs.

"Dogs are very much like people. They tend to be the same age proportionately as you and I are when they get these diseases. The diseases look the same underneath the microscope," said Klein.

DiLuigi's excited about the people possibility.

"Going from the status of prognosis poor in December of 2006 to in great shape five months later, I don't know what a better testament to a great vaccine would be," said DiLuigi.

Right now only cancer vets are approved to use the dog vaccine.

The next step is to make it available to all vets and work on a similar human treatment is in process.

Posted by Chantelle Janelle

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