Over the years, I have taught my Create to Heal classes to many women with metastatic breast cancer; so, when I saw Dr. Erika Hamilton, the Associate Director of the Breast Cancer Program at Sarah Cannon Institute of Research in Nashville, being interviewed regarding a new breast cancer vaccine, I decided to blog about the growing field of Immuno-Oncology.
According to Dr. Hamilton, the early trial of this vaccine is very promising. The vaccine which is being developed at Washington University in St. Louis, fights against Mammaglobin-A, a protein that is expressed on the cell surface of 40 - 80% of cancer cells. The primary objective of the trial was to see if this vaccine is well tolerated. Based on the results, it is and in half of the 14 patients, their cancer did not progress. Based on these promising results, researchers at Washington University are planning a more in-depth study .
Dr. Hamilton and others at the Cannon Institute are pioneering a new class of therapy, designed to boost the immune system so the body can better fight the disease. Immunotherapy may offer an effective and safe approach to fighting cancer; patients will receive the same or better results as chemotherapy without the side affects.
Since Immuno-Oncology is a rapidly advancing field, with several cancer vaccines already approved, will we see the end of chemo and radiation? Not immediately, according to Dr. Hamilton, but down the road, yes.