Breast Cancer Vaccine on the Horizon?

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic believe they may have developed a vaccine that could eliminate breast cancer.

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic believe they may have developed a vaccine that could eliminate breast cancer if it yields the same results in humans as in mouse models. The vaccine purportedly helps the immune system attack a protein found in most breast cancer cells and is only present in healthy women during lactation.

The researchers administered the vaccine or placebo to mice that had been bred to develop breast cancer. Of those receiving the vaccine, none developed breast cancer, whereas all mice receiving a placebo eventually did. In addition, the vaccine stopped the growth of existing tumors.

The researchers, led by Vincent K. Tuohy, PhD, hope to begin testing the vaccine in humans next year, but additional toxicity studies in other species, such as rats, may be required first. However, if eventual testing in human subjects demonstrates benefit, women 40 years and older as well as those at high risk of developing breast cancer may be able to receive the vaccine in 10 years.

Although there have been other therapies that have cured cancer in mice, but did not work in humans, Tuohy said that this vaccine is promising and may have the potential to "eliminate breast cancer."