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How ONCEPT® Works

The technology behind ONCEPT Canine Melanoma Vaccine, DNA is very complicated – but the results are very simple.

Conventional vaccines (for other common diseases) stimulate an immune response directed against foreign proteins. Tyrosinase, a protein present on canine melanoma cells, is not usually targeted by the dog’s immune system because it also is present on normal canine cells.

ONCEPT trains the dog’s immune system to recognize this cancer-associated protein as a threat to it’s health.1,2,3

ONCEPT is produced with a human gene for tyrosinase inserted in a small ring of DNA. Human tyrosinase is different enough from canine tyrosinase that an immune response is generated, yet is similar enough to canine tyrosinase that this immune response is directed against the protein on canine melanoma cells.

When used in conjunction with surgery and/or radiation therapy to treat your dog’s local tumor cells, ONCEPT has been shown to significantly prolong the survival time for dogs with advanced stages of melanoma.1,2,4,5

Vaccination involves an initial four-dose series, once every two weeks, using a needle-free transdermal device. After this initial series, your dog will receive one booster vaccine every six months. There are no known contraindications for ONCEPT in dogs with oral melanoma.6


1 PJ, et al. Development of a xenogeneic DNA vaccine program for canine malignant melanoma at the Animal Medical Center. Vaccine 2006;24:4582-4585.
2 Bergman PJ, et al. Long-Term Survival of Dogs with Advanced Malignant Melanoma after DNA Vaccination with Xenogeneic Human Tyrosinase: A Phase I Trial. Clinical Cancer Research 2003;9:1284-1290.
3 Tremayne J. Researcher eyes vaccines to treat canine skin cancer. DVM 2005;36(8):22.
4 Data on file at Merial. Study 05-171. 2009.
5 Liao JCF, et al. Vaccination with human tyrosinase DNA induces antibody responses in dogs with advanced melanoma. Cancer immunity 2006;6:8-17.
6 ONCEPT product label.
Merial ®ONCEPT is a registered trademark of Merial. ©2012 Merial Limited, Duluth, GA.
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