Melanoma vaccine in horses being evaluated

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Multiple melanomas in a grey horse.
Multiple melanomas in a grey horse.  © Caroldermoid

American researchers are evaluating a vaccine currently used to treat melanomas in dogs for its effectiveness in horses.

Melanomas are among the most common tumors in horses.

Although they can occur in horses of all breeds and colors, they are especially common in grey horses. The breeds most likely to be diagnosed with melanomas include thoroughbreds, quarter horses, Arabians and Paso Finos.

Researchers from Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee are evaluating the vaccine currently used in dogs for its safety and effectiveness in treating melanomas in horses.

University veterinarian Jeffrey Phillips said the research was assessing the effective response to the vaccine based on changes in the tumors.

To date, the researchers have accrued and vaccinated the first two groups of horses in the study.

Results to date indicate that the vaccine appears safe when administered at baseline and increased dosage levels, and treated horses have not experienced toxicity.

One month after all horses in the first two groups have completed the vaccine series, researchers will begin recruiting and vaccinating the next dosing group.

If researchers are successful in documenting the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, it will offer the first therapeutic treatment option for horses with melanoma.

The research is supported by the Morris Animal Foundation.


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