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Dogs Inhale New Immunotherapy to Fight Lung Cancer

Researchers interested in examining potential benefits to humans with cancer

A protein that the body naturally produces could become an important new immunotherapy drug in the cache of cancer-fighting tools available to oncologists. UC Davis cancer researchers for both companion dogs and humans joined scientists from other institutions to study a new approach that triggers the body’s defense mechanisms, its T-cells and natural killer cells, to respond and destroy cancer.

Surgical oncologist Robert J. Canter with UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and canine oncologist Robert B. Rebhun with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine are corresponding authors for a study just published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.

In the first-of-its-kind Phase 1 clinical trial, 21 pet dogs of various breeds that had metastatic lung disease resulting from osteosarcoma or melanoma were treated with protein interleukin-15 (IL-15). Although previously recognized for immunotherapy properties, IL-15 has undergone few human clinical trials because of toxicity risks associated with concentrated doses.

Read full news release from UC Davis' Comprehensive Cancer Center

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