Scientists at the Cleveland Clinic are now experimenting with something that could become a huge milestone in cancer research: a vaccine for the most aggressive and deadly form of breast cancer. The small Phase I trial, which begins this week, will vaccinate survivors of cancer to determine its safety and optimal dosage. Ideally, the vaccine can be used both as a therapeutic booster for survivors as well as preventive treatments for high-risk individuals.
The vaccine is intended to be discontinued Triple-negative breast cancer, A form of cancer where the tumor has little or no receptors for estrogen, progesterone, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Although only 10-15% of breast cancers are triple negative, these tumors are difficult to treat due to the lack of receptors that current treatments may target; These are fast growing and more likely to spread elsewhere in the body. The five-year survival rate for triple-negative cancer varies but is only 12% for cancers that spread throughout the body.
The principle behind the vaccine is to train the immune system to target a specific protein called lactalbumin. This protein is expressed by breast cells when a woman produces breast milk. Most triple-negative tumors also produce α-lactalbumin, however, leaving healthy breast tissue alone to form a kind of homing beacon for the protein to go behind the immune tumor cells. Because This would be most appropriate for the way the vaccine works “Women are more likely to avoid breastfeeding after childbirth, in premenopausal years, and to have a higher risk of breast cancer,” the scientists wrote. Previous research.
In this Phase I trial, 18 to 24 people who have survived triple-negative breast cancer and are now tumor-free will be given a three-dose schedule of vaccines. Although their cancer was initially treated, they remain at high risk for recurrence. Researchers will initially look at vaccine safety, but they will also track patients’ immunity after vaccination.
Most vaccines for cancer are now being developed therapeutically, which means their purpose is to prevent the cancer from coming back. But since triple-negative cancers are often characterized by α-lactalbumin, researchers believe it could also be used as a preventative vaccine, especially for people at high genetic risk of breast cancer through mutations in the BRCA1 gene. These high-risk patients are more prone to developing triple-negative cancer than other forms, and African American women are also twice as likely to develop this form than other ethnic and racial groups.
“In the long run, we hope it could be a truly preventative vaccine that aims to prevent healthy women from developing triple-negative breast cancer, a form of breast cancer for which we have the least effective treatment,” said Principal Research Investigator, G. Thomas Bud, a doctor at the Tasig Cancer Institute at the Cleveland Clinic Statement From the medical center.
The study is expected to be completed by September 2022. If all goes well, the next phase of the study will include high-risk patients who have not yet developed breast cancer and will track whether the vaccine has subsequently prevented the development of cancer.