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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs