Nearly every second dog develops cancer from the age of ten years onward. A few therapies derived from human medicine are available for dogs.
A very successful form of therapy by which antibodies inhibit tumor growth has not been available for animals so far. Scientists at the inter-university Messerli Research Institute of the Vetmeduni Vienna, the Medical University of Vienna, and the University of Vienna have developed, for the first time, antibodies to treat cancer in dogs. The scientists published their research data in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.
The newly developed antibody brings hope for sick dogs.
Photo: Michael Bernkopf / Vetmeduni Vienna
As in humans, cancers in dogs have complex causes. The interaction of the environment, food, and genetic disposition are the most well known factors. Today nearly all methods of human medicine are basically available for dogs with cancer, but this was not true of cancer immunotherapy so far.
So-called cancer immunotherapy - which is the treatment of tumors by the use of antibodies - has been established and used very successfully in human medicine for about 20 years. Since cancer cells bear very specific antigens on the surface, the corresponding antibodies bind to these molecules and thus inhibit tumor growth. The mechanism that becomes effective is a destructive signal sent by the antibody to the inside of the cancer cell and initiates its death. In a second mechanism, the immune system of the patient also destroys the "marked" tumor in a more efficient way.
The target is nearly identical in humans and dogs
Josef Singer and Judith Fazekas, both lead authors of the study, discovered that a receptor frequently found on human tumor cells (epidermal growth factor receptor or EGFR) is nearly 100 percent identical with the EGF receptor in dogs. In human medicine EGFR is frequently used as the target of cancer immunotherapy because many cancer cells bear this receptor on their surface. The so-called anti-EGFR antibody binds to cancer cells and thus triggers the destruction of the cells. "Due to the high similarity of the receptor in humans and dogs, this type of therapy should work well in dogs too," the scientists say. The binding site of the antibody to EGFR in man and dogs differs only in respect of four amino acids.
Antibody trimmed to "dog"
To ensure best possible binding of the antibody to cancer cells in dogs, the human antibody had to be trimmed to "dog" in the laboratory. In human medicine this process is known as the "humanization" of an antibody. The antibody originally produced in the mouse has to be adjusted to the species for which it is used. Singer and Fazekas replaced the corresponding elements in the “humanized” antibody with elements from the dog. In experiments on dog cancer cells in the laboratory it was found that the newly developed antibodies did, in fact, bind to canine cancer cells with greater specificity.
The head of the study, Professor Erika Jensen-Jarolim, explains as follows: "We expect dogs to tolerate these anti-cancer antibodies well. This will be investigated in clinical studies in the future and is expected to greatly improve the treatment as well as the diagnosis of cancer in dogs."
Improvement of diagnosis
The newly developed antibody provides an additional benefit for dogs. As in human medicine, antibodies can be coupled with signal molecules. When the antibody binds to a cancer cell in the organism, the coupled antibody - in this case a radioactive isotope - can be rendered visible and is thus able to show where tumors and even metastases are located. When the selected isotope also contributes to the decay of cancer cells, the approach is known as "theranostics" (therapy and diagnostics).
"The Veterinary Medical University, Vienna will be the first center in the world to offer the most modern immunological cancer diagnosis procedure for dogs. Of special interest to me as a doctor of human medicine is the fact that, by using this approach, we will be able to initiate improvements that will benefit humans as well," says Jensen-Jarolim.
The first anti-EGFR antibody (cetuximab) for cancer treatment in human medicine was developed by the company Merck. In humans it is primarily used for the treatment of bowel cancer. Cancer immunotherapy is mainly applied in combination with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In veterinary medicine, immunotherapy will be employed for the treatment of mammary ridge cancer (milk line cancer) in dogs. It may also be used as part of a combination therapy.
The article „Generation of a Canine Anti-EGFR (ErbB-1) Antibody for
Passive Immunotherapy in Dog Cancer Patients“, by Josef Singer, Judit Fazekas, Wei Wang, Marlene Weichselbaumer, Miroslawa Matz, Alexander Mader, Willibald Steinfellner, Sarah Meitz, Diana Mechtcheriakova, Yuri Sobanov, Michael Willmann, Thomas Stockner, Edzard Spillner, Renate Kunert and Erika Jensen-Jarolim was published in the Journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-13-0288
About the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna
The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in Austria is one of the leading academic and research institutions in the field of Veterinary Sciences in Europe. About 1,200 employees and 2,300 students work on the campus in the north of Vienna which also houses five university clinics and various research sites. Outside of Vienna the university operates Teaching and Research Farms. http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at
Prof. Erika Jensen-Jarolim
Messerli Research Institute – Comparative Medicine
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 20577-2660
M +43 664 60257-6260
Science Communication / Public Relations
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-1153
Dr. Susanna Kautschitsch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona
Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research