US clinical trial announced for equine melanoma vaccine

Multiple melanomas in a grey horse.
Multiple melanomas in a grey horse.

A cancer vaccine targeting equine melanoma is to undergo a clinical trial in Missouri, it has been announced.

Equine melanoma is a particular problem in grey horses and can be slow-growing or malignant. There is currently no US Department of Agriculture-approved treatment.

Florida-based biotechnology firm Morphogenesis said the clinical trial at a large equine facility was expected to last a year. It is designed to precisely assess the effectiveness and safety of the direct-injection form of its ImmuneFx cancer vaccine in horses.

“We have had some major successes in reducing equine melanoma in the cases we have treated to date and, depending on the results, this formal study will statistically and scientifically establish the reliability of the therapy,” company chief executive and co-founder Pat Lawman said.

ImmuneFx has been used to treat more than 20 different types of cancers in dogs, cats and horses. The personalized form of ImmuneFx is currently being used by veterinarians across the US, the company said.

In the equine study, veterinarian Kris Hennessy, of Hennessy Research, will be testing an off-the-shelf form of ImmuneFx vaccine that is directly injected into the melanoma lesions of the horses.

Successful study outcomes will allow Morphogenesis to obtain a commercial license from the US Department of Agriculture to sell the injectable form of ImmuneFx for treatment of equine melanoma.

Plans call for the personalized form of ImmuneFx to be used in human clinical trials early next year. All the company’s activities, including its clinical trials, are investor-funded.


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