Archive for February, 2014

From the Director: “What’s new at BCT?”

newWell, thanks to your feedback, NEW is what’s new. Throughout 2013, we heard from BCT users who asked if we could make it easier for them to quickly see the most recent studies we’ve added to the website, and our new NEW let’s you do just that. When you click on “NEW Trials,” you will see a list of all the new studies that have been listed within the past two weeks. On the “See All Trials” page, “NEW Trials” takes you to all of our new trials. If you log in and go to your “My Trials” page, you will now see a “NEW Trials” tab, which will take you to the most recent studies that match your profile. And if you receive our Trial Alert emails, you’ll find that it’s now easier to view the new studies that you want to explore on BCT.
So, keep sending us your feedback! The more you tell us, through our surveys or simply by contacting us by phone or email, the better we can help you find breast cancer trials that are right for you. What’s next? By popular demand, a SEARCH BOX! Stay tuned…

February 12, 2014 at 12:56 am Leave a comment

Metastatic Breast Cancer Vaccines

Vaccine-graphicAs 2014 unfolds, there is little question that cancer researchers are keeping their eyes focused on the field of immunotherapy, which includes cancer vaccines.

As we noted in our last e-newsletter, the take-away from the 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting was that cancer vaccines and other types of immunotherapy drugs may have the potential to reshape cancer treatment. The promise of immunotherapy was underscored again in December, when Science magazine designated it the Breakthrough of the Year.

To learn what role immunotherapies will ultimately play in cancer care, researchers will need cancer patients to enroll in clinical trials that are studying treatments that are designed to use the body’s own immune system to slow or stop cancer cell growth. Currently, there are 18 vaccine trials recruiting patients with metastatic breast cancer, and more are expected to be coming down the pike.

Some of the trials that are available include:

A Vaccine to Treat HER2+ Advanced Breast Cancer
This phase I trial is studying a vaccine scientists hope will teach the immune system to recognize and kill HER2+ cancer cells. The vaccine, called AdHER2/neu dendritic cell vaccine, is custom-made for each patient. This means that each patient’s immune cells are collected and then used to produce a vaccine that is just for them.

Vaccine Plus Cytoxan to Treat Stable Metastatic Disease
This is a phase II trial of a vaccine that stimulates the body’s immune system to respond to an antigen called Globo H, which it is commonly found on the surface of breast cancer cells. The vaccine is given along with the standard chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan).

Vaccine for Metastatic Breast Cancer
This is a phase I trial of a vaccine that teaches the immune system to respond to oncofetal antigen or OFA, which is found only on cancer cells.

Mammaglobin-A DNA Vaccine for Metastatic Breast Cancer
This is a phase I trial of a vaccine that targets mammaglobin, a gene that is found in more than 80 percent of all breast cancers. To enter the study, a patient’s tumor must test mammaglobin-positive.

You can learn more about these and other vaccine trials in our Vaccine and Immunotherapy QuickView

Many websites have excellent information on cancer vaccines and other types of immunotherapies. These include this overview of vaccines on BreastCancer.orgthis overview of immunotherapy by the American Cancer Society; and this article, which discusses the science of vaccines for metastatic breast cancer.

February 12, 2014 at 12:51 am Leave a comment

Christie Schubert: Why I enrolled in a vaccine trial

Christie Schubert is one of the metastatic breast cancer patients who enrolled in the Mammaglobin-A DNA Vaccine Trial. She lives in Northern Idaho, and traveled to Washington University in St. Louis to take part in the trial. BCT spoke with Christie about her experience.

Q: When were you first diagnosed with breast cancer?
A: In 2006, I was diagnosed with stage I ER+, PR+, HER2- breast cancer at age 41. In August 2012, I found out that my cancer had recurred. I had metastases in my left eye, both lungs, and a lymph node in my neck.

Q: What other treatments have you been on for your metastatic disease?
A: I am currently taking Femara. I also had Faslodex shots for three months.

Q: How did you decide to take part in a clinical trial?
A:  Well, so far no one has been able to cure metastatic cancer. My husband wanted to find something out there that gave us one thing . . .HOPE!! My husband and I are both in the medical field and know that there is more out there than what is currently being offered. Being in the medical field also made me want to be able to take a horrible diagnosis and turn it into something good for all women and men who may have the unfortunate luck of following in my metastatic footsteps.

Q:  What interested you in this specific vaccine trial?
A: I liked that it involved having only a few injections and that, because it wasn’t chemo, I wouldn’t have to suffer horrible side effects like nausea, vomiting and hair loss. I liked the idea that this vaccine might turn my body into a cancer-killing machine. I loved being able to visualize this vaccine popping and gobbling up the cancer cells and my white cells leaving a clean, healthy body instead of a body ravaged by toxins.

Q: What did you have to do in the trial?
A: . I had six injections over a three-month period. The injections were given with an air injection gun to make sure all of the vaccine was injected into a large muscle. The shot does hurt a bit for a few days afterward with some mild bruising. You can have a fever as a side effect but I never had a huge spike, just a 1-degree increase in temperature. I felt a little tired for a few days after the injection, but that could have been from the large amount of blood that is drawn each time. I feel very lucky to have been included in this study. I was the 14th out of 15 possible participants.

Q:  Would you encourage others to take part in a clinical trial? Why?
A: I think the question is better put . . . Why not? What do you have to lose? If you research the trial, the people running the trial and the site where the trial is being done and you feel comfortable with them, then go for it! Give yourself a chance at more of everything . . . time, family, friends and time to build more memories with all of them.

February 12, 2014 at 12:32 am 1 comment

New Breast Cancer Trials for Week of 2/4/14

New trials posted to BCT this week:


February 5, 2014 at 11:46 pm Leave a comment

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