Completion of canine cancer vaccination clinical trial


Calviri has gathered results from its 5-year study, revealing positive outcomes for cancer prevention

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pitrs /

Calviri is developing a preventive cancer vaccine for dogs, aiming to stop oncologic disease before it starts. The company has previously announced positive results from the ongoing Vaccine Against Canine Cancer Study (VACCS), which involves 804 dogs from owners. Calviri has now announced the completion of this clinical trial in a news release.1

After 15 years of preclinical work in mice, Calviri developed a vaccine for testing in dogs. Stephen Albert Johnston, PhD, CEO of Calviri and principal investigator of VACCS, discovered these unique protein fragments that arise from errors during tumor RNA processing, and that they are present across multiple cancer types. The VACCS vaccine consisted of 31 of these shared neoantigens, allowing for a broad-spectrum approach to cancer prevention.1 In a previous interview with dvm360, Johnston said, “The vaccine also seems to be substantially reducing the non-tumor deaths. So, deaths from heart disease, arthritis, metabolic diseases, dementia, all of the deaths from those things seem to be being reduced.”

The preliminary safety and efficacy results are very promising for this cancer vaccination, however, the primary efficacy data from the trial, particularly regarding its impact on cancer incidence, is still under analysis and will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.1

Johnston stated in the release, "The safety and efficacy results are encouraging enough that we have begun production of an improved version of the vaccine for approval and conditional sales.''1

The 5-year clinical trial had 3 clinical sites: Colorado State University (CSU), College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in Fort Collins; University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine; and University of Wisconsin–Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine and was funded by a $6.4 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project and Calviri Inc.2

Douglas Thamm, VMD, DACVIM (Oncology), professor of oncology at CSU and was a principal clinical investigator for the CSU testing site and said, "The owner participation was amazing. This was one of the largest clinical trials for dogs and it required significant commitment on the part of the owners. The owners made the trial a success."1

"The motivation of many of the dog owners was that this trial would lead to developing a vaccine to prevent cancer in humans. We all hope they are right" stated Jenna Burton, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology), associate professor at CSU and co-principal investigator for the CSU testing site.1

With positive outlooks for veterinary medicine and canine cancer prevention, Calviri is aiming to extend its research to human medicine.1,2 "The VACCs team has done an amazing job" said Heather Youngs, senior program officer at Open Philanthropy. "We are so pleased with the progress on this trial and the potential of this technology to save many animal (and potentially human) lives in the future."1


  1. Calviri announces completion of groundbreaking preventative canine cancer vaccine trial. News release. Calviri Inc. June 3, 2024. Accessed June 10, 2024.
  2. Yankowicz S. Striving to end canine cancer with vaccinations. dvm360. August 23, 2023. Accessed June 11, 2024.
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