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This is amazing news. Cleveland Clinic has entered phase one of trials for a potential vaccine for breast cancer. And, if this proves effective, they’re looking at how they can approach vaccines for ovarian and endometrial cancers as well. The breast cancer the vaccine is targeting is triple negative breast cancer. It is one of the deadliest as it doesn’t respond to hormonal treatment. I hate to sound like a giddy schoolgirl over such profound news, but with the disregard that women’s health has been shown of late, this is soul-filling.
Researchers at Cleveland Clinic announced on Tuesday that they have started a phase 1 vaccine clinical trial in the fight against one of the deadliest forms of breast cancer: triple negative breast cancer.
According to the CDC, triple-negative breast cancer doesn’t have any of the receptors that are usually found in the more common types of breast cancer. This form of cancer doesn’t respond to hormonal therapy, thus giving patients fewer options for treatment.
“We are hopeful that this research will lead to more advanced trials to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine against this highly aggressive type of breast cancer,” G. Thomas Budd, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute, said in a press release.
Researchers said the intent of the vaccine is to counteract the cancer, though they said it will likely be decades before it is available to the public.
For the trial, the vaccine will be administered to around 18-24 people, all given different dosages to test its efficacy. Those chosen for the trial are patients who have been treated for and overcome early-stage triple-negative breast cancer within the past three years, but who are likely to experience recurrence.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, about 10-20% of breast cancers are triple-negative, but because it is more difficult to treat and more likely to recur, it has a higher death rate than those with other types of breast cancer. It is also more prevalent in the African American community and in women with mutations in BRCA1 genes.
“This vaccine strategy has the potential to be applied to other tumor types,” said Dr. Vincent Tuohy, Ph.D., the primary inventor of the vaccine and staff immunologist at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute.
“Our translational research program focuses on developing vaccines that prevent diseases we confront with age, like breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers. If successful, these vaccines have the potential to transform the way we control adult-onset cancers and enhance life expectancy in a manner similar to the impact that the childhood vaccination program has had.”
Researchers anticipate the study will be completed by Sept. 2022.
According to this Cleveland Clinic video, the vaccine is designed for post lactating women. Women who have not breastfed are less likely to get triple negative breast cancer. CB wrote in April about how mRNA technology used in Covid vaccines could be used in personalized cancer treatments. This article didn’t reference that research, but I wonder if they’re linked? Not that it matters, it would just be exciting to think that we got so much from the Covid vaccine research.
Breast cancer is not prevalent in my family (knock wood). But I know it has touched many of the lives of our readers. As the excerpt stated, this particular type makes up about 10-20% of the breast cancer cases. But because of its resistance to treatment, it’s much deadlier. So finding a way to prevent it before it’s a problem is a game changer. And to think that other women’s cancers may be close behind. Finally, right? Just a side note about where this is being done. I’ve talked to three people who have flown to Cleveland for various treatment at Cleveland Clinic in the last few months. And when I mentioned it to a doctor, they started peppering me questions about what those who’d been there said, in almost a stanning way. At least one of the people I talked to is living pain free for the first time in 10 years. This is exciting.
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