Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Florida have announced positive results from a new breast cancer vaccine that may be able to strengthen the body’s immune system against an aggressive form of cancer.
According to KTVU, the vaccine is used in combination with Trastuzumab, an immune-stimulating drug that is given to women after they have surgery to remove a cancer tumor.
The new vaccine is being used to treat “triple-negative breast cancer,” an aggressive form of breast cancer that is likely to spread to the rest of the body and likely to come back after treatment.
“The vaccine provides a prevention strategy to deter cancer reformation,” said Dr. Keith Knutson, a Mayo Clinic immunologist working on the study. “The body’s T-cells and B-cells synergize with each other for a strong, durable, immune response.”
Doctors say they have seen a “measurable immune response” with few negative side effects in tests of the vaccine.
The standard approaches to treating cancer address the existing disease,” Knutson said. “Our goal is to develop a strategy to address recurrence. We have good drugs, like Trastuzumab, that can interfere with the recurrence of (this type of) breast cancer. Our hope is that a vaccine that engages multiple aspects of the body’s own immune system will build on those successes.”
Further research will determine how long immunity lasts and whether booster shots will be necessary.
The Mayo Clinic is also conducting clinical tests of other breast cancer vaccines, along with 300 tests for other types of cancer.