Bone Cancer Vaccine for Dogs Shows Promise for Breast Cancer

"It it prevents or delays osteosarcoma in dogs, and if it does, it is likely to do the same in people," she said. "If we find it is safe and we find it effective, we can take it across into the medical world and use it on women with breast cancer and perhaps children with osteosarcoma."

Early results suggest that the immunotherapy is safe and human trials could start "in a couple of years," Mason said.

Once Penn Vet finishes phase one of the clinical trial and determines the appropriate dosage for immunotherapy, they will launch phase two of the study with a larger group of dogs and try to find statistical significance and increase the safety profile.

If there is no evidence of toxicity, "the wheels start turning to implement a human trial," Mason said.

But animal trials like these also provide comfort and hope for owners who are devoted to their dogs.

In the study, Penn Vet has treated dogs from as far away as Ohio, Louisiana and Florida.

"They are an incredibly dedicated group of individuals who absolutely love their dogs, but also recognize the concept of that it leads to a bigger picture to find something that will helps dogs and humans together," Mason said. "They really get it."

Liliana Ruano, 37, said she has "very high hopes" for people and for the dog she so loves.

"What does she not mean to us?" Ruano said. "She has a kind heart, in a word. What we have done says a lot. To me, she means the world. She's my girl."

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