Pet Owner FAQs

Cancer has many ways to hide from the patient’s immune system, which prevents the immune system from eliminating it. The ELIAS cancer immunotherapy (ECI®) works by stimulating the patient’s immune system to recognize cancer cells as “foreign” and subsequently eliminate them.

The best candidates for this therapy are dogs with newly diagnosed appendicular osteosarcoma, who have no signs of metastatic disease at diagnosis and who are in otherwise generally good health. The affected limb should not be amputated prior to an evaluation by an ECI-trained oncologist. If ECI is selected as the preferred course of treatment, the affected limb will be amputated and the tumor tissue collected at the time of surgery.

No, a dog who has already been amputated cannot receive ECI. Because of the personalized nature of this immunotherapy, a sample of the cancer tissue is required. 

An ECI treatment protocol for limb-sparing surgery patients has not been developed. Limb-sparing surgeries may not remove as much cancer tissue as an amputation and could make therapy success more difficult. An ECI-trained oncologist should be consulted to address whether this is an appropriate option for your dog.

ECI involves several steps, which may be performed by multiple providers during the treatment. In addition to the cost of ECI itself, the protocol also requires services from a veterinary oncologist, surgeon, and others. These practitioners determine their own fees for these services so the cost of administering ECI can vary. ELIAS recommends speaking to an ECI-trained oncologist to learn more about potential costs.

ECI is designed to stimulate the immune system to recognize and eliminate cancer. To achieve this, a complex series of events must occur within a patient’s immune system in response to the immunotherapy. Results will vary between patients.

No. At this time, ECI must be administered by an ECI-trained oncologist. Find a provider near you.

Alterations to the established protocol are discouraged, which means that no other treatments should be used while the ECI protocol is being administered. However, if a dog receives another therapy (e.g., chemotherapy) prior to ECI, they may still be eligible to receive ECI. In such cases, we recommend that your veterinarian contact ELIAS to discuss. A sample of the tumor tissue must be collected prior to any of these therapies (chemo and/or ECI).

Patients must complete the entire protocol, which includes the personalized vaccines and the T cell infusion. The vaccines train the immune cells to recognize the cancer cells, and then the “activated” T cell infusion stimulates the immune system to react to and attack the cancer cells.

Yes, if your dog was previously treated for another cancer, he or she may still be eligible to receive ECI for a new diagnosis of appendicular osteosarcoma.

Find a Hospital That Offers ECI® Near You