Vaccine To Cure Breast Cancer

Researchers have been working on an experimental breast cancer vaccine and in the process have been able to create one that is more effective. They have hope that this new vaccine will give the patient a cancer fighting gene that will place itself into the infected cells. This will then create immune system proteins that will destroy the tumor.

“In our own mind it is a very significant advance because we have put the gene into the cells in the body. The vaccine is produced by your own cells,” Wei-Zen Wei of Wayne State University in Detroit, who led the study, said in a telephone interview. “It is made right in your body.”

Tests have shown that the vaccine has the capability to remove tumors in mice from a type of cancer known as HER2 positive cancer. HER2 positive cancer is 20 – 30% of breast cancers. The test also showed the vaccine destroy tumors that had developed a resistance to drugs that were designed to fight them.

Wei’s team created a vaccine using what they call naked DNA from genes that have the ability to produce the HER2 receptor – this is the molecular signal for the breast cancer tumors. They combined this DNA with an immune system stimulant and placed it into a ring of genetic material – which they called a plasmid. The plasmid came from a bacterium.

They then used a process that is known as electro oration. This process uses an electrical pulse to force the compound through the muscle and skin so that it can properly immunize the mice test subjects. Once the compound was safely in the leg muscles the genes would travel to cells where they would then begin to create HER2 receptors. These receptors activated immune cells called killer T-cells and antibodies.
“The immune system goes around the body to look for cancer cells,” Wei said.

When they then injected HER2-positive breast tumors into the mice, their bodies eradicated them. “Both tumor cells that respond to current targeted therapies and those that are resistant to these treatments were eradicated,” Wei said. “This may be an answer for women with these tumors who become resistant to the current therapies.”

September 17th, 2008 • tonks • Cancer, Conditions and Diseases, Procedures and Tests Comments Off

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