Aug 102012
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Here on Lili’s Notes, we’ve been writing about Sasha’s battle against osteosarcoma, and her progress in the Mason Bone Cancer Study at The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.  If you’ve been following Sasha’s story, then you know that she just finished her second treatment at UPenn, where Dr. Mason administered the anti-cancer vaccine.  We are happy to report that Sasha has tolerated the vaccine quite well to this point, and she remains happy and healthy.  We love our dogs, and our primary concern throughout this whole experience has been Sasha’s well being; however, as time passes and our three legged dog seems to be out of the way of immediate harm, it seems only fair and deserved that we recognize the company that is responsible for creating the vaccine that Sasha has been fortunate enough to receive.

The name of the vaccine is ADXS-HER2, and the company that makes it is Advaxis.  As our readers know, ADXS-HER2 is in phase 1 veterinary trial for canine osteosarcoma.    Here is what Advaxis has to say about ADXS-HER2 on their website:

ADXS-HER2 is an immunotherapy that targets HER2 over-expressing cells. By incorporating HER2 into the Advaxis live, attenuated vector, Advaxis intends to deliver the HER2 antigen fused to the powerful immunostimulant LLO, directly inside antigen presenting cells that are capable of driving a cellular immune response to HER2 over-expressing cells. The Advaxis approach is also designed to inhibit the Treg and MDSC cells specifically in the tumors that have been promoting immunologic tolerance of the cancer cells.

In concept, eliminating HER2 positive cancer cells with cellular immunity may help prevent the development of resistance that sometimes occurs with antibody treatment, as well as more effectively track down and eliminate potential metastases in the brain of patients with breast cancer.

HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is a gene which is over expressed in a percentage of certain types of cancers such as breast, gastric, bladder, pancreatic, brain, and ovarian. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2011 in the US there will be 230,480 diagnoses of invasive breast cancer, 21,520 new cases of gastric cancer, 69,250 new cases of bladder cancer, 44,030 new cases of pancreatic cancer, 22,340 new cases of brain/spinal cord cancer, and 21,900 new cases of ovarian cancer. For additional information, please visit:

We have very high hopes for the potential efficacy of ADXS-HER2 in fighting the return of, and the metastasis of the osteosarcoma that claimed Sasha’s leg.  We also know that the potential good that this vaccine can bring is much greater than just extending the life of our beloved dog.  We hope that ADXS-HER2 is a fantastic success in human populations as well.  Cancer is indiscriminate in the pain it causes so many people all over the world.  Let us all hope that Advaxis has created something that will quell the suffering of millions.

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  3 Responses to “Advaxis – Maker of ADXS-HER2”

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    Carlos, thanks so much for keeping us updated. Does this mean that Sasha is responding positively to the vaccine? Here’s to Sasha’s continued improvement.


      Hi Tom, thank you for stopping by Lili’s Notes. Sasha is well, and seems to be handling the vaccine just fine. I do not really think that we can say at this time whether or not Sasha is responding, either positively or negatively, to the vaccine. Liliana and I have asked the question, “how do/will we know if the vaccine is working?” The answer is, there is no definitive way of knowing. If Sasha lives longer than the median survival time for dogs with osteosarcoma (that also had the affected limb amputated, and have gone through chemotherapy), then we can assume that the vaccine had a positive effect. Survival beyond median survival rate is not proof of efficacy, however. Some dogs never experience metastasis of the cancer after amputation and go on to live normal lives, cancer free. The truth is, though, most dogs do die as a result of metastasis of the cancer. When Sasha lives more than a year past the date of her amputation, I will feel comfortable attributing her ‘extra’ time with us, at least in part, to ADXS-HER2. The longer she lives, the more credit I give to the vaccine.

      On a side note, Sasha will have radiographs taken of her lungs during her third stay at UPenn. If the cancer has spread to her lungs, we may be able to see evidence of it then.

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