Trials to develop a breast cancer vaccine have taken another leap forward, with results showing a vaccine dramatically reduces tumours in a mouse model that mimics 90% of human breast and pancreatic cancer cases.
Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and the University of Georgia (UGA) developed the vaccine with a view to treating all cancers that share the same distinct carbohydrate signature, including ovarian and colorectal cancers.
The tumor-associated MUC1 protein is the focus of the study. The team says MUC1 is found on more than 70% of all cancers that kill. The vaccine could be used alongside chemotherapy for a direct approach.
"This vaccine elicits a very strong immune response," says study co-senior author Geert-Jan Boons, Ph.D., Franklin Professor of Chemistry and a researcher in the UGA Cancer Center and its Complex Carbohydrate Research Center in Athens.
If all goes well in further trials, phase I clinical trials to test the safety of the vaccine could begin by late 2013.