Dr. Mark Suckow, former faculty member and Associate Vice President of Research at the University of Notre Dame has dedicated his research career to understanding ways to stimulate the immune system against cancer.
Specifically, his research focused on tissue vaccines, a way to utilize a patient’s own tumor tissue and antigens unique to in vivo growth of the cancer. Utilizing this approach, he demonstrated an effective anti-tumor response is associated with the enormous menu of antigens that are part of the tumor and surrounding stromal tissue.
However, around Christmas 2010, he received terrible news that his family’s Labrador retriever, Sadie, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma and given less than a month to live. It was Dr. Suckow’s daughters who that convinced their father to utilize the research he had been working on in his lab to develop a personalized cancer treatment for Sadie.
Using a portion of Sadie’s resected tumor, he created the immunotherapy that was given back to her over the cou
rse of a month. Her metastatic cancer with multiple tumor nodules began to recede and stopped sprea
ding. Sadie survived for more than three years, cancer free, before dying of natural causes.
Dr. Suckow’s research led to the formation of Torigen, Inc., a company focused on providing personalized cancer immunotherapies to the veterinary market.
Their family is not alone in this problem with over 8 million companion animals in the United States diagnosed with cancer every year. Torigen's novel, personalized immunotherapy, VetiVaxTM uses the animals’ existing tumor cells to fight cancer.
Using a surgically excised portion of tumor tissue, we create a series of treatments that are given back to the animal to help stimulate their immune system to fight the cancer in this personalized approach.
VetiVax is an experimental treatment regulated under USDA 9 CFR 103.3. For use under supervision/prescription of a licensed veterinarian. Efficacy and safety have not been established.