Cleveland Clinic scientists have developed a vaccine against breast cancer with excellent results in mice tested.

The breast cancer is the most common malignancy in Western women (although men also affects 10% of cases) and one of the leading causes of death in women in Europe, Australia, U.S. and Latin America. Each year, more than one million women are diagnosed with the disease and 500,000 die from breast cancer.
However, in recent years there have been many advances in early detection and treatment of breast cancer significantly reduces mortality (in Spain, the chances of survival for women diagnosed with breast malignancy are at present 78 %). Scientists Cleveland Clinic (Ohio, USA) have researched and designed a vaccine to prevent breast cancer.


Why this vaccine is a significant advance in the prevention of breast tumors?

Vaccines produced to date against various tumors focused their action in preventing infection by the virus which would produce a series of changes in the affected tissue, eventually causing a tumor. This is the case Human Papilloma Virus, Whose vaccine has helped prevent cervical tumors, or vaccines for the prevention of liver tumors caused by different viruses Hepatitis. They have also been developed vaccine prototype breast cancer cut him off once it has developed. However, experiments by Cleveland Clinic researchers focus on an entirely different principle: the immunology of tumor itself (in fact, Dr. Tuohy, chief project manager, not an immunologist oncologist if not), getting around tumor formation.

How does the vaccine against breast cancer developed by Clinic Cleveland?

The vaccine is based on the injection of a antigen (Alpha-lactalbumin) is a protein expressed on the surface of cells in a significant percentage of malignant breast tumors and healthy mammary epithelial cells that produce milk, ie during the breastfeeding. This antigen would result in the production of anti-alpha-lactalbumin by the patient, who would attack the cells with high production of alpha-lactalbumin, thus preventing the formation of reducing breast cancer and tumors already formed.

This vaccine has been tested in the laboratory for 10 months in a group of mice genetically engineered to have a high predisposition to breast cancer. The group was divided into two subgroups, one is the prototype vaccine injected with alpha-lactalbumin, while the other was injected with a substance that is produced immunization ( the formation of antibodies). It was observed that mice that had received the vaccine did not develop breast tumors, in contrast to the unvaccinated, in which tumors were generated by 100% of individuals.

Much research is still required for the vaccine to be used

The discoveries made at the Cleveland Clinic opens the possibility of creating an easily administered vaccine (by subcutaneous injection). However, it must be carried out clinical trials in human patients, and whether they are positive results, it would take about 10 years according to Dr. Tuohy to produce a safe vaccine. Anyway, remember that since the antigen used alpha-lactalbumin, present as indicated above in breast cells of women who are breast-feeding, the vaccine could only be used in women who are of childbearing age .