Here's a perky article telling us that the Dept of Defense has developed a vaccine to prevent breast cancer recurrence. It is just ending its stage II trials and will start stage III shortly. If successful through this phase, then they can apply for FDA approval - in five years. That really isn't that far away and they are currently recruiting participants.
With out getting technical, which I am not really capable anyway, the vaccine relates to the Her2 status of breast cancer and works with the body's immune system to reduce recurrence rates. In trials, it reduced expected recurrence rates by 50%.
Most breast cancers, like mine, are Her2 negative. So, if it is using the Her2 protein and I have a negative status, will it work for me? I am confused. I need a translator here.
"The vaccine, Peoples explained, targets a protein commonly
over-expressed in breast cancer cells called human epidermal growth
factor receptor 2, or HER2/neu.
Cancer vaccines typically target
some protein or antigen expressed on cancer cells, he noted. “The idea
is to train the immune system to recognize that protein or piece of
protein that’s highly expressed on cancer cells, but not on normal
cells,” he said. “That way the immune system can differentiate what’s
abnormal and normal. If the immune system can recognize it, it marks it
for death, basically.”"
"The researchers targeted the HER2/neu protein, which is expressed at varying levels in women with breast cancer, then honed in on the 60 percent of women who express the protein at low to intermediate levels. The vaccine is a mix of the E-75 peptide of the HER2 protein and an immune system stimulant.
If its low to intermediate levels maybe it is for me. I am confused. One note is that if you look at the recruiting criteria - they don't want healthy volunteers - I guess if you have had cancer you are not considered healthy. I do find that slightly ironic. You may call me unhealthy
Also, its all about the bottom line. The DOD developed this vaccine because breast cancer is one of the prevalent diseases seen in military beneficiaries - they want to save money.
Until my doctor can explain this to me, I'll just put it in the "if we can't kill them, lets confuse them" category for now. I see my oncologist in March, I'll try to stretch my tiny chemo brain to remember it until then.