INVESTIGATING THE FEASIBILITY OF IMMUNOTHERAPY IN TREATING DOGS WITH MELANOMA
DR. BYRAM BRIDLE — PATHOBIOLOGY
Pet Trust is supporting research that aims to fight cancer in dogs by directing their own immune system to attack cancer cells without the toxic side effects of standard treatments. This project is focused on melanoma, skin cancer derived from the pigment producing-cells that give colour to skin, hair and eyes. In dogs, oral malignant melanoma is the most prevalent, aggressive and deadly form of the disease, particularly because of its tendency to spread from the mouth to areas that are very difficult to treat, such as the brain. Dr. Bridle’s strategy focuses on proteins expressed by the tumour cells (in this case, melanoma-associated antigens or MMAs) and using vaccines containing the proteins to provoke the body’s cancer-killing immune response. This project will use canine melanoma specimens from the OVC’s Companion Animal Tumour Bank — which is also supported by Pet Trust. The specimens will be analyzed for expression of a variety of MAAs and the data will be used to guide construction of vaccines to target the most commonly expressed MAAs in canine melanomas.