Collaborate 2 Cure
November 3, 2016

Howling at the Cancer Moonshot


On October 17, 2016, a select group of health care leaders delivered The Report on the Cancer Moonshot Task Force to President Obama.  The Task Force focused on the overarching goal of the Cancer Moonshot—to achieve a decade’s worth of progress in efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer in five years and put us on track to end cancer as we know it.  Despite the >40 years dedicated to the war on cancer, progress has been slow owing to inadequate resources, lack of understanding of cancer biology, and flawed models. Cancer is cured daily in laboratory rodents, but few novel therapeutic approaches survive the long journey to drug approval.  The emergence of new preclinical studies and consortia dedicated to assessing diagnostic and therapeutic methods in pet dogs with spontaneously arising cancer has provided one avenue by which to speed the path from discovery to patient care. Pediatric cancers that are relatively rare and represent a small market share for industry partners have been neglected due to limited resources. Given the common occurrence of many such cancers in pet dogs, along with their shortened lifespan compared to humans, there is much that may be learned through a win-win collaboration between veterinary cancer researchers and clinicians. Advantages of this approach will be discussed, as will an overview of which cancers occur in pets and how they are similar or dissimilar to their human counterparts. 

Speaker: Carolyn Henry DVM, MS, DACVIM

Dr. Henry is a tenured Full Professor with dual appointments at the College of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Medicine at the University of Missouri. She earned her DVM at Auburn University in 1990, her MS from Auburn in 1993 and gained board certification in oncology in 1994. Dr. Henry joined the faculty at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine from 1994 to 1997 before relocating to the University of Missouri as an Assistant Professor of Oncology. She has served on the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Board of Regents and is past president of both the Veterinary Cancer Society and the ACVIM Specialty of Oncology. In April 2010, Henry was named Faculty Facilitator for the Mizzou Advantage One Health/One Medicine initiative by the Office of the Provost—a position in which she serves to foster multidisciplinary educational and research opportunities between human and veterinary medicine and the basic sciences, both within the University of Missouri and with outside collaborators. She has been appointed Associate Director of Research for the Ellis Fischel [human] Cancer Center and serves as the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Her research interests include canine bladder cancer, mammary cancer, osteosarcoma, and comparative oncology/cancer epidemiology.

Treating Cancer with Ex Vivo-Activated Cancer Neoantigen-Specific Effector T Cells


ELIAS Animal Health and TVAX Biomedical are advancing a unique approach to using effector T cells for cancer immunotherapy. Clinical efficacy achieved with immune checkpoint inhibitors, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) demonstrates the power of T cells to kill cancer cells, extend patient survival and produce true cures. Ours is an immuno-oncology approach that uses the patient’s own immune system to generate high numbers of cancer neoantigen-specific effector T cells. Our strategy employs effector T cells produced ex vivo from vaccine-generated cancer neoantigen-specific effector T cell precursors. The ex vivo-activated effector T cells are delivered to patients by adoptive cell transfer and travel to sites of cancer growth where they attack cancers throughout the body. Cancer neoantigen-specific effector T cells kill cancer cells and reject growing cancers without producing significant negative side effects. Because our approach uses the patient’s own immune system, it can be used to treat any cancer at any stage. Elias is currently performing clinical trials in canine osteosarcoma and canine lymphoma. TVAX has authorization to perform phase 2b/3 clinical trials in brain and kidney cancer.

Speaker: Gary Wood, PhD and Tammie Wahaus

Gary Wood, PhD, is the inventor and principal developer of TVAX Immunotherapy®, a T cell based immunotherapy that is being advanced in humans by TVAX Biomedical and in veterinary patients by ELIAS Animal Health. Dr. Wood guided the development of TVAX Immunotherapy® from concept through its most recent human clinical trials. Dr. Wood organized and coordinated the Phase 1/2a clinical trials performed at University of Kansas Medical Center and at Wayne State University and managed the scientific/clinical teams that performed the trials. Prior to founding TVAX Biomedical in 2004, Dr. Wood was Professor of Pathology, Director of the Diagnostic Immunology Laboratory and Director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Laboratory at KU Medical Center. Dr. Wood also was Professor of Medicine and Director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Laboratory at Wayne State University. Dr. Wood has a B.A. from Kalamazoo College and a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Tammie Wahaus serves as Chief Executive Officer for ELIAS Animal Health. She joined TVAX Biomedical in 2012 as Chief Financial Officer and played a key role in launching its animal health business in 2014 where the company’s approach cell based immunotherapy is being advanced in veterinary patients as ELIAS Cancer Immunotherapy™. Ms. Wahaus has more than 25 years of experience in both public accounting and international business. Prior to joining TVAX Biomedical, she served as Vice President of Finance and Global Controller for two publicly-traded companies, and as a partner with a major international public accounting firm, Ernst & Young. She has a B.S. in Business Administration from Kansas State University and serves as an advisory board member for the KSU College of Business.


Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
Brookside Room
4801 Rockhill Rd, Kansas City, MO 64110

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