Syndicate content

Archive - Oct 19, 2011

Efficacy of Vaccine for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Demonstrated in Dogs

An experimental vaccine developed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine is the first veterinary cancer vaccine of its kind that shows an increase in survival time for dogs with spontaneous non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). The work shows for the first time the feasibility and therapeutic efficacy of this alternative cell-based vaccine, which could be employed in the treatment of a number of different cancer types. The research was conducted by Dr. Nicola Mason, assistant professor of medicine at Penn Vet; Dr. Robert H. Vonderheide, associate professor of hematology and oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine; and Dr. Karin U. Sorenmo, associate professor of oncology at Penn Vet. Drs. Erika Krick, Beth Overley and Thomas P. Gregor of Penn Vet and Dr. Christina M. Coughlin of the School of Medicine also contributed to the research. Their work was published on August 31, 2011 in the open access journal PLoS ONE. The team recruited dogs that were brought to Penn’s Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital with newly diagnosed NHL to receive the experimental vaccine following standard induction chemotherapy and confirmation of clinical remission. The goal of the study was to determine whether the vaccine would prevent or prolong time to a relapse, a common scenario in both humans and dogs with NHL. “We vaccinated dogs, which were in clinical remission following chemotherapy, three times,” Dr. Mason said. “We then tracked them over several years to see if the vaccine would prevent relapse and would prolong overall survival.

Unusual Plant Found Near Mississippi Gravesite of Gypsy Queen

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist has confirmed the identity of a strange grass-like sedge discovered in a Mississippi graveyard, and believes the appearance of the potentially invasive plant is linked to the final resting places of several members of a royal Gypsy family. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) botanist Dr. Charles Bryson was asked by Mississippi State University graduate student Lucas Majure to help classify a plant Majure had found in Rose Hill Cemetery in Meridian, Mississippi. Dr. Bryson works at the ARS Crop Production Systems Research Unit in Stoneville, Mississippi. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency. After several months of searching, Dr. Bryson identified the plant as blue sedge (Carex breviculmis), a native of Asia and Australia and previously unknown in North America. He also found it growing along railroad tracks, campgrounds used by transients, and in or around four cemeteries in Meridian, including Rose Hill Cemetery. Visitors from all over the world come to Rose Hill Cemetery to pay their respects at the gravesite of Kelly Mitchell, the Queen of the Gypsies, who was buried there in 1915. Her husband and other family members were also laid to rest in the cemetery. Given the plant's restricted and distinctive distribution in the region, Bryson thinks that global travelers introduced the sedge to Mississippi, possibly via seeds trapped in clothing or by leaving plants or soil at the gravesites of the Gypsy royalty. Then cemetery caretakers may have spread plant material from the first introduction site to the other cemeteries via contaminated clothing and lawn care equipment. At two sites where it is now established, the plant exhibits weedy characteristics and reproduces and spreads profusely. To Dr.