Promising Research For Breast Cancer Vaccine
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a vaccine that targets the cells largely responsible for breast cancer.
This vaccine has recently been tested on patients with metastatic breast cancer, a more advanced breast cancer that has spread to another part of the body. It works by stimulating white blood cells in the body that are responsible for fighting off disease and foreign invaders, to attack a specific breast cancer protein called Mammaglobin-A.
Mammaglobin-A is present in 80% of breast cancer cases but lacking in other tissues of the body. This allows the white blood cells to attack only the cancerous areas without harming the body’s healthy cells. This leads to less harmful side effects for the patient. There is a small portion of women who’s breast cancer does not involve the mammaglobin-A protein and this vaccine would not be effective for these patients.
In a recent study, 14 patients with metastatic breast cancer who expressed mammaglobin-A proteins were vaccinated. They experienced few mild to moderate side effects including rash and mild flu-like symptoms. Half of these patients showed no progression of cancer after one year. This includes patients with advanced disease and a suppressed immune system from chemotherapy treatments. This data was compared to a control group of women who were not treated with the vaccine. Only 20% of the patients in the control group were without cancer progression after one year. Because of the effectiveness of this vaccine on patients with metastatic cancer and compromised immune systems, there is a possibility it will be even more effective in newly diagnosed patients with strong immune systems. This will be the basis for the next clinical trial.
This exciting evidence tells us not only that this new vaccine is safe, but that it has the ability to help slow the progression of breast cancer, making it excellent news at the forefront of cancer research.
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