Metastatic Breast Cancer Vaccines

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

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.

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Entry filed under: Breast Cancer Treatment, Uncategorized, Vaccines.

Christie Schubert: Why I enrolled in a vaccine trial From the Director: “What’s new at BCT?”

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