Several breast cancer vaccines are in the works, according to multiple online news resources.
News and media platform Bloomberg said that “the arrival of not just one but several breast cancer vaccine studies is an encouraging sign of the amazing progress researchers are making in harnessing the immune system to not just battle cancer, but prevent it in the first place.”
Dr. Robert Vonderheide, director of the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Medicine, told Time, “To say that we are working on a vaccine to prevent cancers for the rest of people’s lives sounds like something from ‘Star Wars,’” adding “but it’s not a concept that’s totally uncharted.”
Vonderheide said since breast tumors “do not attract the immune system” and give little immune response, developing a vaccine against breast cancer has been tricky, Time reported.
Nora Disis, director of the University of Washington’s Cancer Vaccine Institute, was part of a team of researchers that tested a vaccine meant to teach the immune system to recognize a specific mutated protein that is a common driver of breast cancer, Bloomberg reported.
Results found that 80% of the women in the study are alive 10 years after treatment and those researchers are starting a broader study based on these results.
Time said Keith Knutson, an immunologist at Mayo Clinic, is testing a type of preventive vaccine that can target tumors directly by identifying foreign material in a tumor.
Knutson and Dr. Amy Degnim, professor of surgery at Mayo Clinic, have been working on another vaccine since 2015 with recent testing specified against ductal carcinoma in situ, an early form of breast cancer, per Time.
CBS News reported on Cleveland Clinic’s breast cancer vaccine that aims to prevent triple-negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer, with results from trials expected to arrive in late 2023.
Disis told Bloomberg that eventually, vaccines for every type of breast cancer will be available, and she believes vaccines that can treat or prevent recurrence of the disease can be developed within the next five years.
Dr. Susan Domchek, an oncologist at the University of Pennsylvania who is leading a trial of a preventive breast cancer vaccine, told Bloomberg, “Making a vaccine against breast cancer is ‘not just pie in the sky,’ we’re actually doing it.”
Bloomberg said, “As these studies wind through the clinic, any promising data should motivate investment in an area that could bring us close to the vision of a world with a lot less cancer in it.”
The Deseret News reported earlier this year on a 33% decrease in U.S. cancer deaths, a drop that hasn’t happened since 1991, “which researchers attribute to substantial changes in cancer prevention and screening in the last decade.”