Melanoma is an aggressive cancer that affects both people and dogs. Dr Michael Kent is a radiation oncologist at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He has collaborated with Dr Arta Monjazeb, a radiation oncologist at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, to conduct a unique clinical trial to treat melanoma. The novel treatment approach blends radiation and immune therapies to break up the cancer, then stimulate a dog’s or a person’s own defenses to recognize the tumor fragments as foreign and mount an attack to destroy them. According to Monjazeb, it effectively helps create an individualized vaccine against the cancer.

Investigators

  • Michael S. Kent, DVM
  • Arta Monjazeb, MD, Ph.D

Three key benefits of the findings:

  • The combination of radiotherapy and immunotherapies is a strategy that promotes a maximal response against the cancer.
  • This combination therapy allowed dogs to live longer than had been predicted without therapy. And, as importantly, the quality of life of the dogs remained good throughout the treatment.
  • The fact that dogs with such advanced disease did so well will lead to clinical trials in human patients who have melanoma.