Merial has received full license approval from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for it’s ONCEPT™ Canine Melanoma Vaccine. ONCEPT™ is descibed by Merial as a "breakthrough vaccine indicated in aiding in extending survival of dogs with stage II or stage III oral canine melanoma".
Oral canine melanoma is a common yet deadly form of cancer. Dogs with stage II or stage III malignant melanoma typically survive for less than 5 or 6 months after diagnosis when treated with surgery along. When also treated with ONCEPT™, dogs survived for so long that 50% of dogs in the study were either still alive when the study was concluded, or died of other causes. Oral melanoma, which can be seen in any breed, is the most common malignant tumor of the dog’s mouth, and can also be seen in the nail and footpad. This type of cancer is extremely aggressive and frequently spreads throughout the body. To date, the most common form of treatment has been radiation and surgery.
"Canine melanoma spreads readily, and, unfortunately, existing treatments have not succeeded in controlling the disease," said Dr. Bob Menardi, a veterinarian and spokesperson for Merial. "ONCEPT™ is a new adjunct treatment option for dogs that have been diagnosed with this often fatal disease."
The USDA issued a conditional U.S. Veterinary Biological Product License for ONCEPT™ in 2007. During the period of conditional licensure, ONCEPT™ was available to veterinary oncologists as Merial conducted additional research to further support the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. The results of that research led to the full licensure of ONCEPT™. The vaccine will be administered via a Canine Transdermal Device, which delivers the vaccine without the use of a needle.
"The Canine Transdermal Device makes administration of the vaccine easy and quick for oncologists and their patients, leaving one less worry for dog owners dealing with their pet’s cancer treatment" said Dr. Richard Stout, executive vice president and chief medical officer of Bioject. "We are proud to work with Merial in bringing this breakthrough product to market."