New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
Emergencies & Appointments:
Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA


The job of our immune system is to intercept any invading pathogens or abnormal cells within the body, including cancer cells. The immune system has evolved numerous mechanisms to recognize such threats, all the while limiting the risk of autoimmunity or attack on normal cells and tissues.

But many cancer cells aren’t recognized as dangerous, and bypass the body’s natural defense system, proliferate destructively, and eventually challenge the body’s ability to function. In many cancers, malignant progression is accompanied by profound immunosuppression that interferes with effective antitumor response and tumor elimination.

Physicians and researchers in both human and veterinary medicine have developed ways to reverse this immunosuppression, or otherwise make the immune system recognize and attack the previously undetected cells. These treatments—immunotherapy and immuno-oncology—offer new ways of treating certain cancers.

Immunotherapy treatments can: 

  • Boost the body’s immune system in a general way, encouraging a more aggressive environment towards fighting cancer cells.
  • Train the immune system to attack cancer cells specifically through the use of tumor vaccines or immune cell bioengineering.
  • Block the immunosuppressive properties of tumors and the associated tumor microenvironment allowing for the immune system to function properly and mount an anti-tumor response.

Penn Vet Cancer Care

Now Offering Extracorporeal Therapies

As part of our ECT service, we now offer dialysis and plasma exchange to patients who need these treatment options.

  • Recent Interventions


    Hemangiosarcoma is a common, aggressive cancer of the cells that line blood vessels. It commonly occurs in the spleen, liver, and the right side of the heart. The current standard treatment for hemangiosarcoma in the spleen is surgically removing the spleen followed by chemotherapy. Unfortunately despite surgery and chemotherapy, the disease usually spreads and most dogs succumb to their disease within 6-12 months.
    Anti-vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Therapy

    Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a growth factor that may contribute to the spread and growth of hemangiosarcoma. In this clinical trial, we will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of an antibody therapy designed to inhibit VEGF and delay or prevent spread of the disease after surgery.

  • Our Team

    Penn Vet Expertise

    At Penn Vet, we offer a unique combination of doctorate-level clinician-researchers, each of whom is board-certified in their clinical specialty, specializing in the basic, translational, and clinical approaches of immuno-oncology.

    Immunotherapy/Immuno-Oncology Clinician-Researchers
    Dr. Nicola Mason, Canine Cancer Studies
    • Associate Professor, Medicine
    • Internal Medicine
    • Canine Cancer
    • Immunotherapy
    Dr. Matt Atherton, Penn Vet



  • Resources

    Here are some additional resources on immunotherapy and immunobiology research taking place at Penn Vet: