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Oncept delivers cancer-fighting DNA
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One of the lessons I learned from my experience with Hannah is that the vaccine appears to be more effective the earlier it is given; sometimes the disease will progress while you are waiting for the immune system to kick in. In removing a bleeding but benign skin lump on a 16-year-old Jack Russell named Charlotte, I snipped off a small lip mass in the spirit of “while you’re at it.” As so often happens, the seemingly incidental lip mass turned out to be the more serious concern when the pathology report came back: malignant melanoma.

“Charlotte’s way too old for chemotherapy or radiation therapy,” said her owner, Ann. I didn’t even try to argue, but I did mention the vaccine.

Guess who booked the first available appointment with oncology!

*Bergman, P. J., et al. 2006. Development of a xenogeneic DNA vaccine program for canine malignant melanoma at the Animal Medical Center. Vaccine 24(21): 4582–85.

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This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 65: Jun/Aug 2011
Nick Trout is a Diplomate of the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Surgeons and a staff surgeon at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. facebook.com/DrNickTrout

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