Melanoma vaccine points toward promising new cancer treatments

In humans, melanoma is an aggressive and dangerous skin cancer that often strikes people who have spent a lot of time in the sun. In...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Mar 14th 2008


In humans, melanoma is an aggressive and dangerous skin cancer that often strikes people who have spent a lot of time in the sun.

In pets, melanoma does not always develop in the skin, and it rarely is related to sun exposure. Sadly, it is still dangerous.

However, a new treatment for melanoma inside of the mouth (oral melanoma) has shown a great deal of promise. And it may open the door to new methods of treating other cancers as well.

The treatment, which is for dogs, is a vaccine. After it is administered, it causes the dog’s immune system to attack the cancer. The vaccine is not designed to be given routinely. Instead, dogs that have been diagnosed with melanoma can receive the vaccine as part of a comprehensive treatment protocol.

As the fields of immunology and molecular biology continue to advance, it is very likely that more new treatments of this sort will become available. And that is a good thing.

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