SPOKANE, Wash. — Preliminary research from the University of Washington (UW) finds that a vaccine may prevent or treat breast cancer.
An experimental vaccine from researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle showed a safe immune response against breast cancer. The studies suggest the vaccine may be able to treat different types of breast cancer.
“Because this was not a randomized clinical trial, the results should be considered preliminary, but the findings are promising enough that the vaccine will now be evaluated in a larger, randomized clinical trial,” said Dr. Mary “Nora” L. Disis, a UW professor of medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, and director of the Cancer Vaccine Institute.
The vaccine targets a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). In as many as 30% of breast cancers, HER2 is overproduced by as much as one hundred times the amount seen in normal cells. “HER2-positive” cancers are more aggressive and more likely to recur after treatment, but the overproduction of HER2 also triggers an immune reaction that can be beneficial, according to UW.
The DNA vaccine developed by researchers simulated an immune response that kills the cancer cells. This way, cancer cells are less likely to recur after treatment and gives cells overall longer survival.
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