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Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine Studying Immunocidin Equine in Two Types of Cancer

Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine Studying Immunocidin Equine in Two Types of Cancer

Belleville, Ontario – December 4, 2017 – NovaVive Inc., an animal health immunobiology company, today announced that its anticancer immunotherapeutic for horses will be evaluated in a clinical study at Iowa State University (ISU) College of Veterinary Medicine.

Immunocidin® Equine has regulatory approval in the U.S. and Canada for the treatment of equine sarcoid tumors. The study at ISU is focused on standardizing treatment protocols and assessing the product’s efficacy and safety in the treatment of both sarcoids and squamous cell carcinoma. Dr. Stephanie S. Caston, DVM, DACVS-LA, Associate Professor, Equine Surgery, Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University  is the Principal Investigator. Sarcoid and squamous cell carcinoma are two of the three most commonly diagnosed tumors in horses (the third is melanoma).

Sarcoids can occur in horses of any age. They are most common in adult Quarter Horses and other closely related breeds, but rare in Standardbreds. There are four different forms of sarcoids and these tumorrs are often found around the eyes, head/face, neck, chest, and shoulder, and at the site of old scars. It is estimated that sarcoids affect 1 in 100 horses in North America. 

Squamous cell carcinoma is most commonly found in adult to geriatric horses of any breed. It can show up in the form of ulcerative or proliferative masses that look like proud flesh. It is common in un-pigmented (white or pink) areas, such as around the eye or third eyelid and urogenital structures. 

Treatment for both types of cancer varies according to type, size, tumor location and economic concerns. Current treatments include surgical removal, chemotherapy, or herbal products, however, the tumors often recur. Immunotherapy (with or without surgical de-bulking) is a safe and effective treatment option that is gaining interest in both human and veterinary oncology. Sixty horses will be enrolled in the ISU study.

“Equine skin tumors such as sarcoids and squamous cell carcinoma can be difficult to treat, as they can reoccur after treatment,” said Dr. Caston. “Our team at ISU Veterinary College is interested in immunotherapy and we are investigating the success rates of new formulations of immunotherapies and novel immunotherapies as well as combination treatments.  Performing clinical trials is essential to developing the most effective treatment protocols and understanding the response of different tumors to these therapies. We are looking forward to our collaboration with NovaVive and to testing their product, Immunocidin Equine, to potentially establish new treatment protocols for sarcoids and squamous cell carcinoma.”

“We are pleased to be working with Dr. Caston and her research team on this project,” said Dr. Aleksandar Masic, Vice-President of Research & Development at NovaVive Inc. “Immunocidin Equine is a potent immunomodulator that we know has good efficacy in the treatment of sarcoid tumors. We have also seen a handful of squamous cell carcinoma cases where the product has been successfully used which gives us confidence in this indication as well. The additional data generated by ISU Veterinary College may lead to further studies in equine tumors and we expect it will be helpful in providing equine veterinarians with safe and effective options for treating these difficult cancer cases.”


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