There's a new cancer vaccine in town, and it's thanks to Uncle Sam. US military researchers have developed a cancer vaccine that they say lowers breast cancer recurrence rates, reports the American Forces Press Service's Elaine Sanchez. The vaccine, called E-75, is in the final stages of testing and will soon be presented to FDA for approval, Army Col. George Peoples tells Sanchez. Peoples, the director and principal investigator for the Cancer Vaccine Development Program at San Antonio Military Medical Center, says the vaccine targets HER2, and trains the immune system to recognize it and cause the body to attack it. What's different about this vaccine, Peoples adds, is that instead of testing it on end-stage cancer patients whose immune systems aren't healthy, the military tested E-75 on cancer survivors who have healthy immune systems, but are at risk for recurrence.
"The researchers targeted the HER2/neu protein, which is expressed at varying levels in women with breast cancer, then honed in on the 60 percent of women who express the protein at low to intermediate levels," Sanchez says. "The vaccine is a mix of the E-75 peptide of the HER2 protein and an immune system stimulant." In a recent trial, women who received the vaccine were half as likely to have a recurrence of their cancer as women who didn't receive it. The final phase of testing will be conducted by Galena Biopharma, Sanchez adds. Peoples and his team are working to develop a vaccine like E-75 for a variety of other cancers.