Give Cancer The Paw – Remembering Sasha
Sahsa was the first dog to take part in the bone cancer vaccine study currently underway at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
Sasha was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer, in March of 2012. The prognosis is guarded at best, and dogs who undergo treatment are usually given amputation of the effected limb and chemotherapy. They have a median survivial rate of only 1 year. Most dogs with this diagnosis die to metastases (spread) to other bones or their lungs.
When Sasha’s owners learned of her diagnosis they signed her up with Dr. Nicola Mason’s study at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. The study is testing out a new experimental vaccine aimed at eliciting anti tumor immunity and prolonging the survival rates in dogs with osteosarcoma.
Sasha was the first of six dogs to receive the vaccine. “Although it is too early yet to determine whether the vaccine prolongs overall survival in patients with this highly aggressive disease, we can conclude that the vaccine appears to be safe and well tolerated. This is a very important first step,” Mason says. “Given the safety of the vaccine at the current doses used, we are extending the study and continuing to enroll patients.”
Sasha finally succumbed to the disease in March of 2014. She survived a year longer than first expected.
I’m joining the Give Cancer The Paw blog hope to pay special tribute to Sasha. It’s too early to say if this vaccine will help prolong survival rates in dogs with bone cancer, but the results are promising so far. If the results to continue to show prolonged longevity the vaccine can it might translate into helping kill human cancer cells. The HER2/neu molecule that it’s aimed at killing in dogs is the same on found in kids with Osteosarcoma and certain breast cancers.
Read all about Sasha’s journey on her owners blog, Lili’s Notes.
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