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Vaccine helps breast cancer survivors from recurrence

April 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Conquering breast cancer is not an easy feat. Once it's beaten, there's always a chance it could come back. Now doctors are working on a new way to help breast cancer survivors win the fight once and for all.

A clinical trial is testing E-75, a vaccine to help protect breast cancer survivors from recurrence.

E-75 is a part of the HER-2/neu protein. It helps stimulate T cells to attack cancer cells. In trials, women injected with the vaccine saw a 50 percent reduction in recurrence.

The drug Herceptin can do the same but in a different way. Only 20 percent of breast cancer survivors, those with high levels of HER-2, can take Herceptin. E-75 developer Dr. George Peoples says three times as many survivors could benefit from his vaccine. It targets women who have lower levels of HER-2.

"It allows us to use the vaccine in patients who are otherwise not eligible to receive Herceptin," Peoples said.

peoples said one day the vaccine could be used to fight lung, prostate and ovarian cancers that also express the HER-2 protein.

Recruiting for the final round of trials for E-75 is under way and 700 to 1,000 participants in dozens of sites across the country are needed. To find out more about enrolling in the trial visit www.neuvax.com.

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