PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvania researchers say a new treatment is prolonging the lives of dogs with cancer and may someday help people with the disease.
Denali is back at work as a therapy dog six months being diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an aggressive type of bone cancer .
The German Wirehaired Pointer received an experimental vaccine at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine.
Many dogs in the trial already had the standard treatment for osteosarcoma, amputating the cancerous limb, followed by chemotherapy.
Researchers gave them radiation and a live bacterial vaccine.
Lead Investigator Dr. Nicola Mason says, "the concept of the vaccine is to educate the immune system, to recognize tumor cells and to kill them."
Most dogs with the disease die within a year of diagnosis, but Dr. Mason says many who received the vaccinations are still alive two years later.
Scientists hope the treatment could one day be used to for children with osteosarcoma and women with types of breast cancer, similar to the disease.