Breast cancer vaccine
Could the future of breast cancer medical treatment include a vaccine? Possibly. According to Moffitt Cancer Center researchers, a dendritic cell vaccine targeting the HER2 protein on breast cancer cells is safe.
The HER2 protein is overexpressed in 20 to 25% of all breast cancer tumours. It is associated with aggressive cancers and a poor prognosis.
How does the vaccine work?
The vaccine is created from dendritic cells (immune cells) harvested from the patient to create a personalised vaccine. Many therapeutic strategies aim to re-stimulate the immune system to recognise cancer cells and target them for destruction.
It was previously shown that immune cells are less able to recognise and target cancer cells that express HER2, as breast cancer progresses into a more advanced and invasive stage. However, the new vaccine effectively stimulates the immune system leading to regression of early-stage breast cancer.
Putting the vaccine to the test
Researchers performed a clinical trial in 54 women who have HER2-expressing early-stage breast cancer. Patients were injected with a dose of their personal dendritic cell vaccine once a week for six weeks into either a lymph node, the breast tumour, or into both sites.
The dendritic cell vaccines were well-tolerated and patients experienced only low-grade toxicity. The most common adverse events were fatigue, injection site reactions, and chills.
Source: Moffitt Cancer Center via Sciencedaily.com