BREAST CANCER VACCINE
AUSTRALIAN researchers are developing a new vaccine to prevent breast cancer.
The groundbreaking jab stimulates the body’s immune systems — with studies already showing it can improve survival rates in mice.
The vaccine works by helping victims to reduce production of a protein that leads to a more aggressive form of the disease.
It will also help gastric cancer patients.
The vaccine is now being tested on Asian gastric cancer patients after being shown to be safe for human use.
A BREAST cancer vaccine developed by an Australian company could be the first treatment for many women battling the disease worldwide and eventually be used to prevent it altogether.
The groundbreaking new HER-vaxx jab stimulates the body’s own immune systems in the fight, and studies have already shown it to improve survival rates in mice.
It’s being driven by the Melbourne-based company Imugene and will help the 25 per cent of women whose breast cancer over-expresses the HER-2 protein, which leads to a more aggressive form of the disease.
It will also help gastric cancer patients where the HER-2 protein is over-expressed, leading to similarly aggressive forms of that cancer. The vaccine is now being tested on Asian gastric cancer patients after being shown to be safe for human use.
Most of the world’s more than one-million gastric cancer cases annually are among Asians and the five-year survival rate is just 30 per cent. But researchers can’t conduct trials on Australian breast cancer patients yet because it would conflict with the now standard use of the expensive drug Herceptin, preventing assessment of its efficacy.
Co-inventor of HER-vaxx, Medical University of Vienna researcher Professor Ursula Wiedermann said it would most likely be used in combination with chemotherapy, radiation and Herceptin to improve survival.
The vaccine would be the first treatment for women diagnosed with HER 2 positive cancers to stimulate their immune systems. Other treatments would then be piled on top of the vaccine to kill off the cancer, with repeat vaccination doses to keep the disease at bay over the patient’s lifetime.
“It’s like tetanus, you need a booster vaccine to keep the memory of the immune system activated,” Prof Wiedermann said.
It would also be used to inoculate those deemed at risk.
“If you had a certain gene and your risk of cancer was high it would make sense to prophylactically vaccinate (to stimulate an immune response),” she said.