Tryon Equine Hospital P.L.L.C




FAQs: Equine Melanoma Vaccine


FAQs: Equine Melanoma Vaccine

Tryon Equine Hospital now offers a new treatment option for clients with grey horses that have equine melanoma. Our board-certified large animal internist, Dr. Emilie Setlakwe is able to administer the new plasmid DNA vaccine, which is currently under clinical trials for its use in horses.

Q: What is it?

A: It is a xenogeneic plasmid DNA vaccine encoding human tyrosinase.

Q: What horses may benefit from the vaccine?

A: Any gray horse recently diagnosed with melanoma and that does not have other life threatening diseases

Q: How much does it cost and what does the treatment include?

A: Initially you will set up an appointment for your horse to see us to perform a biopsy of the melanoma. These samples are used to measure antibody and in vitro cellular reactivity to human tyrosinase, cellular reactivity to equine tyrosinase, and to characterize tumor infiltrating lymphocyte populations.

Inquire with us regarding the cost, which is sold in packages. The vaccination involves a series of 4-biweekly injections along with a 6-month booster. 

Q: How effective is it?

A: Clinical trials are currently being conducted at the University of Tennesse by Dr. Jeffery Phillips of Lincoln Memorial University. The study is funded by Morris Animal Foundation (D12EQ-037) and Merial, Ltd. Results from trials has shown the vaccine to be effective at preventing further growth of equine melanomas, and significant reduction in their size. Cellular reactivity was noted in 90% of treated patients.

Q: How safe is it---are there any side effects?

A: The vaccine has proven to be safe and well tolerated in horses with melanomas. No adverse reactions have been seen in any of the vaccinated patients.

Q: Where can I find more information out about the vaccine?

A:L.M. Lembcke, J.T. Blackford, D.A. Grosenbaugh, T. Leard, S.A. Kania, D.J. Trent, K. Prater, J. Biggerstaff, A. Odoi, J.C. Phillips.. Safety and Immunoreactivity of a Xenogeneic DNA Plasmid Vaccine Expressing Human Tyrosinase in Tumor-Bearing Horses. Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine, Harrogate, TN. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. Merial Ltd. Athens, GA.

Morris Health Foundation Website -