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Oncolytic Maraba vaccination and standard of care surgery for the treatment of mammary carcinoma in cats

** Please note this study is closed/completed and no longer recruiting patients ** 

Associated Publication:
Hummel, J., Bienzle, D., Morrison, A., Cieplak, M., Stephenson, K., DeLay, J., Woods, J. P., Lichty, B. D., & Bridle, B. W. (2017). Maraba virus-vectored cancer vaccines represent a safe and novel therapeutic option for cats. Scientific reports7(1), 15738.


To assess the efficacy of a novel oncolytic vaccine following surgery in the treatment of cats with mammary carcinoma.


Mammary tumours are the third most prevalent neoplasm in female domestic cats. ~20% of all female feline cancers are of mammary gland origin and 85-93% are malignant. Feline mammary cancer (FMC) is characterized by local invasion into vasculature and surrounding tissues and by metastasis to distant locations, including lymph nodes & lungs. Surgery is treatment of choice; unfortunately survival is ~10-12 months due to FMC’s tendency to locally invade & metastasize.

Cancer immunotherapy is a promising treatment.  By combining two novel cancer treatments together (tumour vaccination & oncolytic virus), a noticeable anti-tumour immune response is produced by the patient. This response can be specifically directed towards tumour antigens. Simultaneously, the oncolytic virus causes direct viral lysis of tumour cells (including metastatic cells) and enhances immune infiltration of solid tumours. This creates a synergistic therapeutic effect against the tumour which we hypothesise will delay or prevent post-surgical relapse and extend survival.


  • $500 cost to client

Samples required:

  • Biopsy/fine needle aspirate for diagnosis
  • Following viral vaccine therapy:
    • Thoracic radiographs (baseline and every 3 months for 12months)
    • Blood (baseline, 24, 48 & 72hrs and every 3 months for 12months)
    • Urine (baseline, 24, 48 & 72hrs)

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Definitive diagnosis of feline mammary carcinoma

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Previous treatment for feline mammary carcinoma
  • Any concurrent tumours
  • Pre-existing lung pathology (not including lung metastases)
  • Hypersensitivity to the oncolytic vaccine and/or diluent
  • Previous adverse reaction to a vaccine


  • Dr. Brian Lichty, UoMcMaster (PI)
  • Dr. Paul Woods (co-PI)
  • Dr. Byram Bridle (co-PI)


Jeff Hummel (PhD), Clinical Trial Coordinator, UoMcMaster
Email:; Cell #: 647-984-5023

Vicky Sabine (PhD), Clinical Research Coordinator, OVC
Email:; Work Cell #: 226-218-0338

Funded by Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

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