Scientists and researchers have been trying to create a vaccine that fights against cancer for so long, and finally, some great news have been published recently as the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida announced that they have been working on a vaccine that can prevent ovarian and breast cancer from occurring. They also stated how it would help prevent this type of cancer from affecting those who already had the disease. 

The vaccine was said to work by harnessing the body’s immune system to detect cancer cells and kill them. 

Success has been marked with the first human patient who received the vaccine but it will take at least several years for the study to be completely finished and the medicine be available for patients other than those included in the trial. 

“It is reasonable to say that we could have a vaccine within eight years that may be available to patients through their pharmacy or their doctor,” said Keith L. Knutson, Ph.D., who is part of the Mayo Clinic.

Vials with medication and syringe on white methacrylate table with window background. Horizontal composition. Front view.

When a woman named Lee Mercker was diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer, she was offered to take part in the clinical trial and she was more than eager to accept the opportunity. In her case, the cancer was diagnosed very early and its cells were confined to her milk ducts. 

“They always took your blood, you had a physical, they’d make your shot right there on the spot for you,” Mercker said. “It was three shots, all in a row, alternating arms, four shots, two weeks apart.”

Mammogram radio imaging Both side for breast cancer diagnosis

Releasing more information regarding the clinical trial, one of the doctors involved in the study, Dr. Saranya Chumsri said:

“It’s supposed to stimulate a patient’s own immune response so that the immune cells like t-cells would go in and attack the cancer.” 

Patient Mercker had to undergo a mastectomy as it was part of the trial. Using her breast tissue, researchers further examined the effects of the vaccine. 

“That is the only way we know that everything was removed properly,” Chumsri said.

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Great news came as it was determined that the vaccine did its part of the job and triggered the immune system to fight against the affected cells. As a result, the tumor was completely eliminated. 

Mercker was happy she gave this trial a chance as it helped her get rid of the awful disease. 

“I feel like I walked on the moon,” she said. “I worked in an industry with tons of women and I saw all kinds of stories, and it’d just be really nice to stamp this [breast cancer] out.”

3d illustration of cancer cells and lymphocytes

Mayo Clinic is constantly working on finding cure for cancer and they are happy this vaccine may save many lives. Compared to other vaccines, this one is very easy to administer.

“It’s supposed to be just off the shelf, kind of similar to when you get the flu shot or pneumonia shot,” Chumsri said.

Currently, they are trying the vaccine they developed on two other patients. We hope it will work for them as it did for Mercker as it will give hope to many. 

“We have seen early signals that our vaccines have a very positive impact on disease. We are building on that foundation,” Knutson said.

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