Experimental breast cancer vaccine shows promise

Breast cancer vaccine could have major impact

CINCINNATI - A new vaccine could have a major impact on the treatment of breast cancer.

The vaccine developed at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is called AE37.  It may keep an aggressive type of breast cancer from returning in women who have a history of the disease.  The vaccine still needs further research.

AE37 trains the body's immune system to attack a common piece found on breast cancer tumors, a protein called HER2, which helps tumors grow.

Dr. Elizabeth Mittendorf, the lead investigator, says, "With this vaccine, we've educated the immune system to recognize this protein, HER2. If some rogue tumor cell is floating around, it can recognize it and take care of it before it can settle into bone or other parts of the body."

About 25% of breast cancer cases have an overactive amount of the HER2 protein, called HER2-positive breast cancer.

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