Hero Spotlight: Ivy
Ivy, a 10-year-old female Golden Retriever, had been diagnosed with lymphoma a year prior to her first IFx-VET treatment. Ivy had stage IV multi-centric indolent B cell lymphoma, a slow growing form of lymphoma for which standard of care chemotherapy has little value. Ivy’s condition had progressed to the point where just about all of her lymph nodes were affected as well as her spleen. A fine needle aspirate was taken from one of her lymph nodes, and the lymphoma cells were expanded in our laboratory.
The slow growing nature of Ivy’s lymphoma was not replicated once her tumor cells were placed into culture. The cells replicated to such an extent that we were able to make numerous doses of vaccine. Since Ivy was only the second dog to receive IFx-VET, no one knew if continual vaccination would be good or bad, so once Ivy began to thrive, the doses were continued. Even with over 30 doses of IFx-VET, no adverse or serious adverse effects were noted. In fact, Ivy’s lymph nodes began to shrink and five months after treatment began, ultrasound revealed that even the lesions in the spleen had disappeared. Once Ivy began the IFx-VET regimen, she lived for two years with no evidence of disease and passed away due to unrelated causes. IFx-VET was the only treatment Ivy received for her lymphoma.
While relatively rare, slow growing indolent lymphoma is a very good candidate for treatment with IFx-VET. There are several reasons for this. One is that standard of care chemotherapy focuses its mutagenic power on rapidly dividing cells, which makes it effective against aggressive lymphomas but not indolent lymphoma. Two, the lymph nodes of dogs with indolent lymphoma are morphologically more intact than with aggressive lymphoma, and the dogs are better able to mount a clinically beneficial immune response with IFx-VET. Thirdly, the slow growing nature of indolent lymphoma gives the immune system more time to respond to IFx-VET and kill the billions of cancer cells throughout the body.
Ivy’s success has continued to inspire us to take on canine indolent lymphoma, a notoriously difficult cancer to tackle. We believe that it is so important to continue developing new ways of treating canine cancers.