News / Health

Researchers Develop Promising Breast Cancer Vaccine

Researchers Develop Promising Breast Cancer Vaccine
Researchers Develop Promising Breast Cancer Vaccine
Jessica Berman

Scientists have made a discovery they say could lead to a vaccine to prevent and cure breast cancer, a common and deadly disease that afflicts millions of women around the world.  

The experimental vaccine developed by researchers at Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Institute in Ohio was 100 percent effective in preventing breast cancer in a group of mice specially bred to develop the disease.  The vaccine, which has been in the works for the past eight years,  also stopped the growth of existing tumors.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide, and there are approximately a half million new cases reported each year.  The disease is notoriously hard to cure. It often recurs within 10 years, despite treatments thought to be effective at the time of diagnosis.

Lead researcher Vincent Tuohy says the experimental vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to protect the body against the development of breast cancer.  Until now, the major hurdle for researchers working on cancer vaccines has been finding ways to avoid setting off auto-immune responses in cancer patients.  Autoimmunity occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue or organ systems.

The resulting inflammation can trigger an even more aggressive form of breast cancer.   But vaccine researchers have found a way to target proteins that are only present in breast tumors but not in healthy breast tissue, according to Tuohy.

Tuohy says the vaccine kept the specially-bred, breast cancer-prone lab mice completely tumor-free.

"We found the first way of creating a self-vaccine that can be used prophylactically, in a preventive manner, to protect us against a disease before we get it just like polio and measles," said Vincent Tuohy.

Experts say a woman has a 12 percent risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer over her lifetime.  But according to the US National Cancer Institute, women who have inherited two abnormal genes, called BRCA (BROCK-AH) 1 and BRCA (BROCK-AH) 2, have a much higher, 60 percent risk of developing breast cancer by age 90.

Becca Martello was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer at age 39.  She underwent surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and had her uterus removed to prevent the cancer from recurring.

Breast cancer runs in Martello's family and she's thrilled at the prospect of a vaccine to prevent the deadly disease.

"I can't really believe it yet," said Becca Martello. "I'm just so thrilled, [I have] goose bumps; just amazing."

Meanwhile, the researchers at Cleveland Clinic plan to ask US regulators for permission to begin human safety trials of the vaccine within the next year.  The breast cancer vaccine would be targeted at women age 40 and older.

Lead researcher Vincent Touhy says the breast cancer vaccine project was inspired by the success childhood immunization programs have had in preventing infectious diseases in young people. But no such medically effective safeguards have been available for people middle-aged  and older:

"And yet they confront these horrific diseases like breast cancer and prostate cancer and colon cancer and so forth and I thought this is the giant hole." he said. "We don't have a similar preventive vaccine program for adult diseases."

Tuohy and his colleagues describe their research in an article this week in the journal Nature Medicine.

You May Like

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

At Boston Bombing Hearing, Sides Spar Over Boat

At final pre-trial hearing, lawyers for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors disagree on whether vessel where he hid from police can be shown to jurors More

Iran Judiciary 'Picks' Lawyer for Detained WP Reporter

Masoud Shafii has been attempting to secure official recognition as Rezaian’s attorney, but is not allowed to see his client in prison More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More