Could a Breast Cancer Vaccine Treat, Prevent the Disease?
“Because this was not a randomized clinical trial, the results should be considered preliminary, but the findings are promising enough that the vaccine will now be evaluated in a larger, randomized clinical trial,” said lead author Dr. Mary “Nora” L. Disis, a UW professor of medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, and director of the Cancer Vaccine Institute [uwcvi.org].
The phase I trial evaluated the safety of a vaccine targeting a protein found in as many as 30% of breast cancers. This protein "overproduces" up to one hundred times the amount seen in normal cells.
Disis and her colleagues created a DNA vaccine to instruct cells to present another protein that combats the overproducing one--also known as a "cytotoxic immune response."
In Frontiers, a leading peer-reviewed journal in science, technology and medicine, the article "Breast Cancer Vaccines: Disappointing or Promising?" said the clinical trials to date were lacking evidence of benefits despite successful immune responses (January, 2022).
The article claims that the effects stimulated by the vaccine are not long-lasting enough to produce significant benefits in survival.
"Although the current results of clinical trials evaluating breast cancer vaccines are not satisfying, we believe novel strategies will eventually lead to improved efficacy as our understanding of cancer immunology deepens."