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  1. Exciting times

    Hybrid vaccine demonstrates potential to prevent breast cancer recurrence

    05.17.12

    The clinical trial of a breast cancer vaccine currently in its second phase at Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has proven to prevent disease recurrence by a considerable margin. The vaccine appears to prevent relapse and work in women with any level of HER2 expression. The results of the study were released yesterday and will be presented on Monday, June 4 in an oral presentation at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

    This vaccine, known as AE37, safely and effectively raise immunity against human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) – an oncoprotein that promotes tumor growth and is expressed to some extent in 75-80% of breast cancer tumors.

    According to the researchers patients on the vaccine were 43 percent less likely to have a cancer recurrence.

    “The vaccine educates the immune system to recognize HER2 as an invader,” said Elizabeth Mittendorf, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the trial’s national principal investigator. “By introducing it into women who have had breast cancer, our goal is to instruct the immune system to immediately recognize any recurring cancer cells and orchestrate an attack.”

    After completing treatment from an oncologist, the patient begins receiving the initial vaccination series that consists of inoculations given monthly for six months followed by four cycles of boosters every six months.

    The The trial is funded in part by Antigen Express, the company that licenses the vaccine technology. Based on the results of these study, Antigen Express will apply for a special protocol assessment from the FDA to continue Phase III research needed on the vaccine.

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