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Developing a New Delivery System for Lymphoma Treatment

Blood cell lymphomas affect about 30 of every 100,000 dogs. Current treatment consists of a combination of cytotoxic drugs that induce remission in about 75 percent of patients. However, most dogs relapse within six to nine months of diagnosis. In human medicine, rituximab, an antibody-targeting drug, has substantially improved survival times for people with various types of B-cell lymphoma. Rituximab cannot be used in dogs, however, because it is a foreign protein and will therefore be rapidly destroyed by the dog’s immune system. Furthermore, rituximab does not recognize or bind to canine B cells. The researchers in this study will use a novel system to develop a canine-derived antibody fragment similar to rituximab that will recognize canine cancer cells and can be used repeatedly in dogs to specifically target B cells. Development of such a canine-derived antibody fragment may then allow targeted delivery of cytotoxic agents to the malignant B cells, thereby allowing for increased chemotherapy doses, reduced side effects and improved outcome for dogs with B cell lymphoma.

Dr. Nicola Mason, University of Pennsylvania

Co-sponsors: The Emma-Jolie Cancer Foundation for Animals; The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America Foundation, Inc.; Portuguese Water Dog Foundation; Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute, Inc.; Golden Retriever Foundation; Puccini Foundation; Anonymous, for Pixel; The Johnson-Stillman Family Foundation; American Spaniel Club Foundation; Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America (BMDCA); Delaware County Kennel Club