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Discovery offers hope for anti-cancer therapy
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies are created when the immune system overreacts to an allergen.

Immunoglobulin E antibodies could fight cancer in humans and dogs

Antibodies that are produced in response to allergens could offer hope for a new anti-cancer therapy in dogs and humans, scientists have said.

Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies are created when the immune system overreacts to an allergen, such as pollen. However, their original purpose is to repel harmful external substances.  

A team of international scientists have now developed a ‘canine IgE’ that targets the EGFR growth factor in cancerous tumours. In-vitro studies found that, in more than 60 per cent of cases, the tumour was destroyed by IgE antibodies.

IgE antibodies build a ‘bridge’ between EGFR on cancer cells and inflammatory cells, which releases tumour necrosis factors.

The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, offers hope for humans too, as canine and human EGFR are a 92 per cent match.

Lead author Erika Jensen-Jarolim said: "We can therefore hope that we have made an important contribution towards developing a new form of immunotherapy against cancerous tumours.

"A subsequent clinical trial will be conducted in canine patients to validate the results in an international joint initiative before moving to human trials.”

Image © M. Bernkopf/Vetmeduni Vienna

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Stephen Fry lends voice to frog conservation film

News Story 1
 Comedian and author Stephen Fry has lent his voice to a new animation that hopes to raise awareness of deadly ranavirus, which is threatening the UK’s frogs.

Research by ZSL, who created the short film, suggests that at least 20 per cent of ranavirus cases over the past three decades, could be attributed to human introductions. This includes pond owners introducing fish, frog spawn and plants from other environments.

Amphibian disease expert Dr Stephen Price said: “People can help stop the spread by avoiding moving potentially infected material such as spawn, tadpoles, pond water and plants into their own pond. Disinfecting footwear or pond nets before using them elsewhere will also help.” 

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Scotland to fund OV training

The Scottish Government has revealed it will fund training for new Official Veterinarians (OVs), covering the Essential Skills, Statutory Surveillance and TB Testing.

Funding will also be provided for the revalidation of Essential Skills, as well as TB Testing for existing OVs. This is the second round of financial support from the Scottish Government for OVs.

BVA president Simon Doherty said he is “delighted” with the announcement.

“Official Veterinarians’ work in safeguarding animal health and welfare and ensuring food safety is invaluable,” he added. “This announcement has come at a crucial time, with Brexit and an uncertain future ahead, the role of OVs will be more important than ever in enabling the UK’s trade in animal products.