Breast Cancer Vaccine Shows Promise in Slowing Progress

The gist: A treatment that boosts the immune system to fight cancer has shown promise for breast cancer patients. The treatment is a cancer vaccine known as the MAM-A DNA vaccine. It was tested in volunteer patients in a clinical trial. It is meant to treat people whose tumors have a protein called mammaglobin-A. The trial showed that the MAM-A DNA vaccine is safe, and may even slow cancer progression. Further studies will show just how effective it might be.

“An initial safety trial of a breast cancer vaccine has proven safe, with preliminary results suggesting the vaccine will slow cancer progression.

“The vaccine, which is being developed by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is meant for patients with breast cancers that express a protein found only in breast tissue called mammaglobin-A.

“Tumors express a very high level of the protein, and research shows it’s present in up to 80% of breast cancers. That means if the vaccine makes it to market, it could potentially be beneficial to a very high number of breast cancer patients.

“The vaccine works by making the immune system focus and destroy cells with the mammaglobin-A protein. In a recent trial to test the vaccine’s safety published in the journal, Clinical Cancer Research, the researchers tested the vaccine in 14 breast cancer patients with mammaglobin-A.