Breast Cancer Breakthrough: Early-Stage Vaccination May Be The Answer
For breast cancer patients there is a ray of hope with a new found vaccine if treated early. Late or wrong diagnosis and delayed treatment often leads to fatal results.
According to Moffitt Cancer Centre in Tampa, they have been working on a new vaccine for the early stage breast-cancer patients having HER2 positive disease to heal. This therapy evolves from patient's own immune system to dominate and destroy cancer cells and thus goes the name immunotherapy. The research team at Moffitt developed the vaccine from immune cells called dentritic which were harvested from individual patients that recognized the HER2 protein on breast cancer cells.
To find the effectiveness of the drug 54 women having breast cancer in their early stages were injected with the vaccine once a week for 6 weeks simultaneously in either a lymph node, a breast tumor or into both sides. It was observed that other than low grade toxicities and common adverse effects like chills, injection spot reaction and fatigue the drug was aptly tolerated by the patients. The Moffitt researchers found that almost 80 percent of the trial patients had detected immune response in their blood regardless of the route of vaccine transmission in their body.
Interestingly the patients who earlier had a non-evasive disease called ductal carcinoma achieved a higher pathological complete response along with 13 other patients who did not have the phenomenon within their local sentinel lymph nodes. In the words of Dr. Brian J Czerniecki, chair of the Department of Breast Oncology at Moffitt, "These results suggest that vaccines are more effective in DCIS, thereby warranting further evaluation in DCIS or other minimal disease settings, and the local regional sentinel lymph node may serve as a more meaningful immunologic endpoint."
According to a report published in Clinical Cancer Research December 13 issue, the randomized trial was aimed for the purpose of evaluating immune and medical response among the injected patients. Out of them most of the women's immunity system responded positively to the application of the medicine.
The effectiveness of the vaccine makes the future of Immunotherapy look really bright and positive in the fight against breast cancer.