A vaccine developed to stop the recurrence of breast and ovarian cancers could be available within the next eight years, according to researchers.
Scientists at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, say the vaccine could not only stop the recurrence of the cancers, but could prevent them from developing in the first place.
The vaccine, which is currently undergoing testing, has reportedly helped to remove cancer cells in a breast cancer patient already.
Mayo clinic investigator Keith L. Knutson, PhD, told Forbes that due to the research being in its early stages, it will be at least three years before a phase three trial of the vaccine would be available to large numbers of patients.
It is reasonable to say that we could have a vaccine within eight years that may be available to patients through their pharmacy or their doctor.
We know that they’re safe. We know that they stimulate the immune system. We know that they have had a positive impact on ovarian and breast cancer.
We haven’t seen any adverse events that are causing problems other than irritation in the area similar to a flu vaccination. Now we have to convince the FDA, through solid, rigorous clinical trials that we’re seeing what we’re seeing.
However, the process isn’t cheap. According to the investigator, a typical phase two clinical trial can cost between $12 million and $20 million to carry out – and phase three trials can cost double that.
The vaccine works by stimulating the body’s immune system to attach to and kill cancer cells, with its first test subject, Lee Mercker, joining the clinical trial in March after she found out she had the disease.
Mercker told First Coast News, as per the Washington Times, she had ‘never heard of’ the type of breast cancer she was diagnosed with – DCIS stage zero – but decided to try the vaccine in question as the cancer had not yet spread to the rest of her body.
She described herself as an ‘exercise fanatic,’ adding: ‘I eat right, but it just can knock on anybody’s door’. She said the 12-week process – which involved having her bloods taken, having a physical, and taking a variety of shots – worked.
Mercker described the process as:
It was three shots, all in a row, alternating arms, four shots, two weeks apart.
Dr. Saranya Chumsri said the patient still had to have a mastectomy to make sure ‘everything was removed properly,’ but the process allowed researchers to study how the vaccine could affect the body.
Dr. Chumsri hopes the vaccine will help prevent cancer and said other trials have shown positive results – including patients with Stage Four cancer.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).