Christie Schubert: Why I enrolled in a vaccine trial

February 12, 2014 at 12:32 am 1 comment

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.

Entry filed under: Breast Cancer Treatment, Personal Stories, Vaccines.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Marci Goorabian  |  February 13, 2014 at 3:10 am

    I too took part in a BC vaccine at the Alta Bates Cancer Center in Berkeley CA for 1 year. In 2007 I was DX with HERII postive BC stage IIIB,aso spread to 9 out of 13 lymphnodes, r breast masectomy, chemo and radiation and 1 yr of Herceptin. I have not had a reoccurance and participated in my vaccine study because it was to PREVENT a reoccurance. The study vaccine also had very few side effects, lots of blood draws and am still BC free. Is it the vaccine? I have no idea but needed to “do my part” in preventation of BC and hopefully more vaccine studys will continue. I wish Christie the best !


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