ONCEPT® is a therapeutic cancer vaccine for melanoma in dogs that was developed by Merial under a license from Vical. This vaccine, designed to extend the survival time of dogs with oral melanoma,
was the first approved therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of cancer — in either animals or humans. Most vaccines for infectious diseases stimulate an immune response directed against foreign proteins. Tyrosinase, a protein present on canine melanoma cells, is not usually targeted by the dog’s immune system because it is also present on normal canine cells.
ONCEPT® is thought to train the immune system to recognize this cancer-associated protein as a threat to the dog’s health. The vaccine is produced with a non-canine gene for tyrosinase inserted in a small ring of DNA. This foreign tyrosinase is different enough from canine tyrosinase to break through the dog’s tolerance of a self-tumor, so it induces a strong and active immune response.
This new therapeutic vaccine is manufactured by Merial, a world leader in animal health and the maker of many canine vaccines. For more information on the vaccine, please contact the ONCEPT® website.