Monday, September 15, 2008

Breast Cancer Vaccine Blasts Some Tumors

An experimental breast cancer vaccine eliminated tumors in laboratory animals and may someday help prevent cancer recurrence or help treat women with treatment-resistant forms of breast cancer. "The results were striking," said study author Dr. Wei-Zen Wei, a professor of immunology and microbiology at the Karmanos Cancer Center at Wayne State University. The research was published in the Sept. 15 issue ofCancer Research.

On a cellular level, HER2 receptors promote normal cell growth, Wei explained. They are found in low amounts in normal breast cells, but HER2-positive breast cells can have many more receptors, and that in turn can promote the growth of an aggressive type of tumor. Even therapies such as Herceptin (trastuzumab), designed to hook up with these receptors and destroy them, sometimes work only for a short period of time, after which patients develop a resistance, and the drug stops working.

read article