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The Vaccine Experience


Posted by Aiden's Mom | Posted in The Treatment Journey | Posted on 01-02-2020

It’s been five long weeks since my last posting.  Aiden has been doing great . . . seems like his old self.  His hair is growing back in and he’s starting to look like the old Aiden.  He’s also acting like his old self.  He can run, jump, and play like he did before . . . even go up and down stairs.  I’m not keen on his rambling up and down 16 stairs with his mates since they all take 3-4 stairs at a time at a dead run.  The one time Aiden managed to make his way upstairs is when he bolted behind the gate before I could close it.  In fact when I saw a dog go by me so fast I thought it was Cooper.  Nope.  It was Aiden who made his way up the stairs for a short investigation then barreled back down before I realized who it was.  He’d probably do OK if he was going up and down by himself, but running with the pack at a dead run gives me “paws”–all we need is a broken front leg to make this adventure even more exciting. . . and stressful!!

As I mentioned in my last post, we began the autologous vaccine protocol on Christmas Eve.  It’s called the ECI treatment.  You can find out more about it at (   It’s an interview Rene did with Dr. Jeffrey Bryan, Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Missouri.  You can also find results of the study at  This is a tremendously promising treatment for OSA.  Let’s hope it’s available VERY SOON to every dog facing this terrible disease!!

Aiden’s treatment began with three doses of the vaccine that had been created from his own cancer cells.  The doses were given a week apart.  There were actually four injection sites, one on each shoulder and one on each thigh.  After the third dose, we waited two weeks to allow his body to build a supply of antibodies.  At the end of the two weeks, Aiden went through apheresis, a process that removed a volume of blood which was run through a machine that separated out the T-cells and returned the blood back into his body. ( If you’ve ever donated plasma, you had it done through apheresis.)  A team from the group conducting the trial came to Dallas to actually perform the procedure.  They took the T-cells back to their lab and multiplied them; the super volume of T-cells were returned this morning, so Aiden was back at the oncologist’s office to have the infusion. Staring tomorrow I have to give him an injection of Interleukin-2 every 48 hours for five doses.  This will boost Aiden’s own interleukin, a protein made by white blood cells (lymphocytes)  to stimulate the immune system.  Interleukin-2 is a product specific to the T lymphocytes or T-cells. Between the increased number of T-cells and the additional interleukin-2, Aiden’s immune system should kick into high gear to kill the micrometastatic cancer cells floating around in his body before they can cause any harm.

Fortunately for us, this is not the end of our treatment choices.  Since we have completed the protocol, the oncologist wants to go ahead and complete a round of chemotherapy–five doses, one every three weeks.  That will probably start at the end of February.  Blood work and x-rays in a couple of weeks will tells us if Aiden is still ahead of the game like he was six weeks ago.  The oncologist is VERY optimistic.

Sitting for hours in the clinic waiting on Aiden I have learned that there is great hope for our furry children who have been diagnosed with cancer.  I have met so many pet parents whose babies have gone into complete remission and stayed there for years.  Today I met a beautiful Golden who, at thirteen, had beaten lymphoma. I have also learned that there is hope that one day a cancer diagnosis will not be a death sentence for our fur babies.  That day seems a lot closer today than it did at the beginning of Aiden’s Great Adventure.


Comments (2)

Hooooorrrrraaaay! What a gift to have Aiden back with the pack, running around and living large! YESSS!!

It’s so pawesome you guys are doing the Elias vaccine. Thank you for sharing your experience. I would love to know why you aren’t required to follow the exact protocol. Also, do you have any adorable pics of Aiden that you can share? I would love to feature your experience in the news blog.

Oh and here is a direct link to our Tripawd Talk Radio episode about the trial:

I have clarified the comment “not bound to the protocol” in the blog.  That was the way the oncologist phrased it but what she meant was that once the treatment is over we are free to move on to other treatment options and other protocols if we choose.  Thanks for the heads up on that!!  I also added the direct link to the ELIAS information on  Thanks for that, too.

I’ll try getting a good picture of him and send it to you as well as post it in the blog.  I’ve been meaning to put up a more recent picture anyway!  He’s looking really good now that his hair is finally growing back in.  He impresses me everyday with his confidence and agility!  

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