Mom, why isn’t there a vaccination against breast cancer?

That’s just what my daughter asked me last week as we were getting our influenza vaccination. She already has a healthy fear of her future risk of breast cancer and we have even discussed prophylactic mastectomies. Of course, it saddens me that she has to consider such things at her young age of 11. However, I was pleased to be able to explain to her that, in fact, “Yes! They are actually working on vaccinations against breast, ovarian, and other cancers.” According to Keith Knutson, PhD., a clinical investigator at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, they have already developed a vaccine against TNBC and HER2 positive breast cancer. These vaccinations may prevent cancer as well as recurrences in patients already affected and could be available in as early as 8 years. They anticipate that phase 3 trials will begin in approximately 3 years. One patient who has already received the vaccination seems to be achieving results with early of evidence of tumor regression and immune system activation. Please see the article published in Fox 10 News, Pheonix.

They are also working on a vaccination against ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which affects nearly 300,000 people annually according to Forbes in the October 11, 2019 issue. So far, the vaccinations have been safe but are extremely expensive to develop. Currently, Knutson is working on a 5-year $13.1 million grant with the Department of Defense. His research also focuses on T cell immunity and T cell therapy and how tumor cells evade our immune systems. Please see other trials for TNBC at the Mayo Clinic.

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