In a breakthrough in cancer treatment, the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida is working on a vaccine to prevent the occurrence of ovarian and breast cancer. It can also prevent recurrence in patients with a history of cancer. The vaccine works by making the body’s inbuilt immune system target and destroy cancer cells.
The very first patient who underwent their trial was cured of cancer.
The vaccine is still under development and is in its early stages. It will take an additional 2-3 years for the vaccine to move on to stage-3 trials. However, the initial trial shows promise and there is a high possibility that this vaccine could be a successful one in curing ovarian and breast cancer.
Details of the First Successful Case
The first patient who underwent the clinical trial was Lee Mercker. She was diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer (ductal carcinoma in situ or DCIS). DCIS is a non-invasive form of breast cancer that occurs in the milk ducts. In the initial stages, the cancer cells are local on the milk ducts and do not spread to the other parts of the breast (therefore non-invasive) but if left untreated, they can spread and turn into invasive cancer.
Mercker readily accepted to be a part of the trial. The trial also required her to undergo mastectomy (removal of affected breast tissue).
The trial consisted of 7 injections, three given one after the other and four given at gaps of 2 weeks each. The total period of the trial took around 12 weeks.
Once the vaccines had been given and the patient underwent mastectomy, the researchers monitored her continuously. They found that the vaccine encouraged the immune system to develop more and eliminate the tumour cells.
The new breast cancer vaccine is already more advanced than its predecessors because of its simplicity. While the previous vaccines were invasive, this vaccine is just like a regular immunization vaccine.
The team of researchers at Mayo Clinic is now working to develop a vaccine to combat any stage of breast cancer. Meanwhile, this vaccine is also being developed so that people at risk of cancer can get immunity. The researchers have also developed two other cancer vaccines for Triple Negative Breast Cancer and HER2 Positive Breast Cancer.
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