Health Team

Breast cancer vaccine shows promising results

Posted May 31, 2010 11:56 p.m. EDT
Updated June 1, 2010 12:08 a.m. EDT

Breast cancer risk begins to increase with women over the age of 40.

A breast cancer vaccine has shown promising results in mice, according to a study by researchers at Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute.

Researchers say the vaccination prevented breast cancer tumors from forming while also stopping the growth of existing tumors.

Doctors and researchers are hopeful that the vaccine will bring similar results when tested on women and bring an end to breast cancer.

“We can vaccinate normal, healthy women and make sure they don't get the disease,” said Dr. Vincent Tuohy, the study's principal investigator and an immunologist at the Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute.

Tuohy said when the vaccine was injected into genetically cancer-prone mice, none developed breast cancer.

However, Duke oncologist Dr. Victoria Seewaldt warns cancers have been cured in mice before but failed to work on people.

“We have cured an awful lot of mouse cancer in my day," Seewaldt said. "I really want to see it working in humans before I take out the champagne bottle."

Tuohy said the findings of the study offer hope to breast cancer survivors and those with a heightened risk of developing breast cancer.

“I just hope that one day they will find it (a vaccine),” breast cancer survivor Ann Badders said. "You have to be optimistic. You always have to be hopeful that it is gone."

Badders, of Apex, has been cancer free for almost 11 years.  The disease runs in her family.

"My mom died of breast cancer,” she said.

Researchers hope to begin testing the vaccine on women next year.

“All you want to see is this disease go away," Seewaldt said.