TRIPAWDS: Home to 24487 Members and 2169 Blogs.

AT-014 Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine Helps Dogs Like Dexter Beat the Odds

Last December, science gave us the brightest news about canine osteosarcoma in recent memory. It started with the groundbreaking research leadership of Dr. Nicola J. Mason at the University of Pennsylvania and the veterinary pharmaceutical company Aratana Therapeutics. Today, a canine osteosarcoma vaccine that can prolong survival time is coming to over two dozen veterinary oncology centers across the U.S. 

canine osteosarcoma vaccine dog
Dexter thrives after osteosarcoma vaccine.

Successful clinical trial results allowed the Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine, Live Listeria Vector (AT-014) to receive a conditional license by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Veterinary Biologics. In order to receive full licensure, Aratana announced will conduct a larger clinical trial this year. It will take place at about two dozen veterinary oncology practice groups across the United States, locations that currently participate in the study (funded in part by Morris Animal Foundation).

Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine / Live Listeria Vector (AT-014)

We are sad to report that as of 12/20, this vaccine is no longer available. Dr. Sue Ettinger explains here:

How this Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine Works

Several years in the making, this vaccine works by using “a listeria-based antigen delivery system that activates cytotoxic T-cells. This directs the T-cells to fight off cancer cells—capitalizing on the dog’s immune system and its ability to attack bacterial infections,” explains American Veterinarian.

In other words, once a dog has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma and undergone treatment, the vaccine can help the body fight back against metastasis. 

The magazine goes on to state that:

“We know that most of these dogs relapse with metastatic disease, so clearly cancer is left after chemotherapy,” said Nicola J. Mason, BVetMed, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and pathobiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and principal investigator of clinical trials investigating the new vaccine. “And we were asking the question: Could this vaccine induce an immune response which would eliminate those remaining cancer cells?”

canine osteosarcoma vaccine dog
Dexter is beating all the odds and thriving!

Apparently, it has. Although the vaccine will not prevent osteosarcoma, what it will do is enable more dogs to enjoy longer lives after diagnosis. Dogs like Dexter, who was one of the first to participate in an osteosarcoma vaccine clinical trial and is now FIVE YEARS past his own bone cancer diagnosis.

This pup is so remarkable he even stars in this beautiful video produced by TIAA (Teacher’s Insurance and Annuity Association) as part of their “Making a Difference” profile series to celebrate TIAA’s 100th year anniversary. Watch Dr. Mason explain how Dexter has been able to thrive while living with the disease. 

(Don’t have time to watch the entire video? Check out the shorter 2-minute version!)

Meet One Dog Who Helped the Osteosarcoma Vaccine Become Reality

Over the years we’ve had several Tripawds members participate in Dr. Mason’s osteosarcoma vaccine study. Every one contributed to the adavancement of this historical breakthrough. One dog who has beaten all the odds is Dexter. We asked his dad Prakash about their participating in this historical research and here’s what he said:

Did you immediately decide to do the trial? What went through your mind when it was presented as an option for treatment?

Yes. Since the chance of survival was low under the standard of care, we had nothing to lose. It was a relief that something was being done to improve the ability to treat dogs with OSA. And if not for dexter, then the work would have helped further the science for other dogs in the future. 

What was the biggest benefit about being in the trial?

The biggest pro offers hope and gives us the chance to try something new and revolutionary.

Would you recommend clinical trials to others?

If there is a good outlook, yes. Even if it unfortunately doesn’t help your dog, know that the research is invaluable to the future of science.


What have you learned from Dexter? 

He’s so resilient and positive. He never gave up, and showed me that I, too, can endure the challenges life brings.

What would Dexter tell people whose pets have just been diagnosed with cancer?

To have faith.  It’s difficult and takes a toll on the family.  Find a vet you can trust.  Get involved. There is help out there and don’t give up. If it’s treatable go for it.

If your dog has just been diagnosed with ostseosarcoma, ask your oncologist about the new AT-014 osteosarcoma vaccine.

Read More About the Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine and Clinical Trials

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association: Vaccine holds promise for treating osteosarcoma in dogs
American Veterinarian Magazine: USDA Grants Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine With Conditional License

Video Shows How a Pet Cancer Study Can Help People Too
Can Your Tripawd Cure Cancer?


Sharing is Caring!

13 thoughts on “AT-014 Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine Helps Dogs Like Dexter Beat the Odds”

  1. My greyhound has Osteosarcoma in the humerus of her right front leg. do we need to have her leg amputated before undergoing this treatment? There is no evidence of metastasis so far and we’ve gone through two rounds of palliative radiation recently. We live in San Diego county and would like to know if a clinical trial is available in our area as well as the participation cost. Thank you for your help!

    • Hi George, for the latest criteria we suggest contacting Aratana at 1-844-ARATANA (272-8262). They can help you find a local clinic participating in the trial (and I do believe you have one in San Diego). Please join us in our Discussion Forums so we can help you and your pup. Best wishes to you both.

  2. I sure wish there was financial help with this. After the almost 10,000 cost for amp and chemo, the immunization feels so financially out of reaach =(

  3. ADORABLE DEXTER!!! You are a WARRIOR OF HOPE!!! 🙂 🙂 Thank you andnyour hooman for sharing your VICTORIOUS noirney with us!! FIVE YEARS VICTORIOUS AND STILL COUNTING!! 🙂

    With appreciation to all!
    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

    • Contact Dr. Nicola Mason’s office at the University of Pennsylvania Vet Medicine. Many facilities are opening additional trials now. Reach out & best of luck to you family.

    • Casey is “enrolled” for the extended field trial, but we need to come up with about $3,000 as this trial is minimally funded. We are working with the Oncology Service in Springfield VA, and they expect the study to begin mid to late April. To be eligible, your dog must have no evidence of metastasis after completing standard carboplatin therapy. Casey will complete his chemo mid-March or early April depending whether we do five or six rounds.

      They will also accept dogs with evidence of metastasis for treatment, but they will not be part of the extended trial and the cost will be higher.


Leave a Comment

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tripawds is brought to you by Tripawds.