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Breast Cancer Vaccines

?There is some very good news for breast cancer survivors on the horizon with the fact that some researchers are now predicting that a vaccine to prevent relapses in breast cancer patients could be ready for public distribution in as few as five years from now. Several clinical trials for a breast cancer vaccine are now in their final testing phases, and most are aimed at targeting patients with Her2 type breast cancer. Her2 type breast cancer is particularly aggressive, it doesn't respond well to hormone treatments and it affects nearly one third of all breast cancer patients today.

Developing an effective cancer vaccine has been a difficult task made even more difficult because vaccines stimulate a person’s immune system to recognize and attack any invasive elements. However, because cancers actually consist of a person’s own body cells, creating a vaccine that will stimulate the immune system to attack only selected elements of the body itself has not been easy. Now scientists and medical researchers are taking parts of a patient’s own cancer cells to make the vaccines that will prevent a recurrence of their own previously active cancers.

The researchers say the new vaccines are more like tetanus shots than traditional chemotherapy treatments because they don’t cause nearly the same degree of unpleasant side effects that radiation therapy nearly always does. Breast cancer vaccine patients will probably have to undergo a series six vaccine injections per visit and the treatments may take up to a month to administer completely. In addition to the new vaccine that prevents breast cancer relapse, researchers are also busy working on other types of vaccines that will ultimately prevent breast cancer before it can develop at all. All that stands in the way are time, money, research and many clinical trials. The dates are not firm, but some estimates put the relapse-prevention vaccine on the market in five years and the total prevention vaccine about five years behind that.

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