1418: Harnessing a Dog's Own Immune System to Kill Lymphoma Tumor Cells

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $150,000
Heather M. Wilson, DVM; Texas A&M Research Foundation
January 1, 2011 - December 31, 2018

Sponsor(s): American Belgian Tervuren Club, Inc., American Bullmastiff Association, American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation, Inc., American Miniature Schnauzer Club, American Shetland Sheepdog Association, Basset Hound Club of America, Inc., Bedlington Terrier Wellness and Rescue Association, Inc., Collie Health Foundation, English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association, French Bulldog Club of America, Golden Retriever Foundation, National Beagle Club, Otterhound Club of America, Samoyed Club of America Education & Research Foundation, Westie Foundation of America, Inc.

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Oncology - Lymphoma
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Lymphoma is the most common malignancy of dogs representing up to 25% of diagnosed cancers. Dogs often develop an aggressive form of lymphoma that is rarely curable, with most unfortunately succumbing to disease within 12 months of diagnosis despite best-available chemotherapies. Dr. Wilson will develop a new treatment to re-train the dog's own immune system to attack the most common type of canine lymphoma, B-cell lymphoma. In order to accomplish this they will obtain a small number of circulating white blood cells, called T cells, from the blood of affected dogs and insert a gene that will cause the T cell to express a receptor which recognizes the tumor "fingerprint". After docking with the lymphoma, the T cell will be triggered to mount an immune response against the tumor cells with the specific fingerprint. This therapy could be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy. Their preliminary data demonstrate that it is possible to genetically modify T cells. Further, they have been able to successfully harvest and grow T cells in the laboratory and return them safely to the dog. These infused cells can be found in the blood and tumor weeks after infusion, showing that it is possible for these cells to survive in the dog. If successful this study will be the first to develop an "in-dog" T-cell therapy targeting a tumor that has historically thought to be untreatable.


O’Connor, C. M., & Wilson-Robles, H. (2014). Developing T Cell Cancer Immunotherapy in the Dog with Lymphoma. ILAR Journal, 55(1), 169–181. https://doi.org/10.1093/ilar/ilu020

O’Connor, Colleen M., Sheppard, S., Hartline, C. A., Huls, H., Johnson, M., Palla, S. L., … Cooper, L. J. N. (2012). Adoptive T-cell therapy improves treatment of canine non–Hodgkin lymphoma post chemotherapy. Scientific Reports, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep00249

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