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Four years, 810 dogs, no adverse side effects – one promising pursuit to prevent canine cancer. In May 2019, Calviri, a biotech startup out of Phoenix, AZ, embarked on an ambitious project, launching the world's largest interventional clinical trial in the history of veterinary medicine. The study's primary goal was to reduce the incidence of malignant tumors by at least 30%.

While this goal may seem modest enough, if successful, it could open doors for preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer in both canines and humans. is passionately backing this pursuit of a preventive dog cancer vaccine.


A Shot at A Lifeline

The Vaccination Against Canine Cancer Study (VACCS) tests a cancer-preventive vaccine containing 31 antigens from eight common canine cancers. The experimental vaccine pre-arms the immune system with biomarkers so affected dogs can trigger an immune response, killing a tumor that displays these foreign elements as they develop.

The enrolled participants were pre-screened to ensure they were healthy and cancer-free before being divided into a vaccine and placebo group. After four years of clinical trials, the results have been encouraging.


Key Findings:

  • There were lower incidences of malignant tumors and cancer-related deaths in vaccinated dogs compared to the control group.

  • Unexpectedly, vaccinated dogs also experienced fewer chronic diseases, such as arthritis, dementia, and heart disease.

  • Two years into the study, an independent Data Safety Monitoring Board determined the vaccine produced no adverse effects.


VACCS implemented double-blind clinical trials, meaning neither the participants nor the researchers knew who received the experimental vaccine and got the placebo. This gold standard of clinical research may be more expensive and time-consuming, but it provides the most reliable results.


As VACCS continues with efficacy testing, all signs point to the vaccine's capability to stop cancer before it starts. And if the canine cancer research continues to trend in the right direction, it would not just protect our four-legged family members against all kinds of cancers, it could also lay the groundwork for a similar vaccine in humans.

"For the approximately 1.9 million Americans who could be diagnosed with cancer this year and the more than 600,000 who may die from it, it's a lifeline most of us never dreamed would come." - Stephen Johnston, Ph.D., CEO and Founder of Calviri 


As investigation, analysis, and testing whirs further into the possibilities of a cancer-free tomorrow, Calviri's researchers are exploring therapeutic vaccines for three other cancer types: 

  • Renal Medullary Carcinoma: A rare type of kidney cancer

  • Neurofibromatosis: A pediatric brain cancer

  • Canine Hemangiosarcoma: An aggressive form of cancer that develops from blood vessels

And because Calviri believes treating cancer isn't enough, their team is also working on improved diagnostics for the early detection of two cancers:

  • Stage 1 Breast Cancer

  • Colorectal Cancer


On top of these, researchers are exploring immune checkpoint inhibitor response and adverse events predictors for multiple cancers, including lung cancer. Every one of these trials allows us to explore the parallels between the human and dog genome, providing us with more opportunities to learn about the most efficient ways to end this dreaded disease.

Some people in the cancer community still believe these efforts are in pursuit of the impossible. And some think there's a possibility that this might work.


For, Calviri, and its countless supporters, if there's a possibility to change the world by ridding people, dogs, and their loved ones of the pain and suffering brought by cancer, it's worth taking that chance.

Ending Cancer Together

Stephanie, one of the study's pet-parent participants, lost her dad to lung cancer when she was 15 years old. Seven years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then, her five-year-old lab passed away nine months after being diagnosed with lymphoma.

Cancer can be terribly cruel. It knows no boundaries. And the lasting effects on families and loved ones are often devastating. 


Vaccines against infectious diseases have probably saved more lives than any other medical advancement in the history of mankind. So when Stephanie heard about VACCS, she jumped at the opportunity to volunteer for dog cancer research, helping people and their beloved companions now and in the future. is building a community of people like Stephanie, along with a global network of dedicated cancer experts, researchers, and medical professionals – united in their belief that, together, we can wake up to a world where cancer is firmly in our past.



  • Is cancer a real threat for dogs?
    According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), dogs get cancer at around the same rate as humans. For some animals, a diagnosis is inevitable. The disease accounts for nearly half of the deaths of pets over 10 years of age. The older dogs get, the more likely they are to be diagnosed. Dogs are more than pets; they are members of the family. When a dog is diagnosed with cancer, it can be just as painful as losing a loved one. Pet owners want to keep their dogs comfortable as they battle what can seem like an insurmountable disease.
  • Why does focus on ending dog cancer?
    Dogs play a vital role in the lives of the people who take care of them. But dog cancer doesn’t get nearly as much attention as its human counterpart, even though it tends to be just as common. As the White House reignites Cancer Moonshot with the ambitious goal of reducing the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years, our organization is focusing on how this issue affects our four-legged friends. is working to eradicate the cancer epidemic by licensing the world’s first cancer vaccine for dogs. This revolutionary treatment stands to improve animals’ quality of life by ensuring they never have to suffer the pain of this debilitating disease. With the support of our generous donors, a team of scientists is studying the vaccine across a range of cancer types and breeds to bring it to market.
  • What else can I do to support in its mission?
    You can support our cause to stop humankind’s best friend from experiencing the burden of cancer in a variety of ways. Make sure you sign the petition to get USDA approval, donate what you can financially to the cause (seriously, every dollar really does help), and purchase gear. We would love for you to also promote our message on social media to help spread the word. We even have special influencer programs. Just reach out for more information (we need a Contact page).


You can help spread the message on social media. Send our information to anyone you know who may be willing to donate or volunteer. 

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