Research could lead to first vaccine for prevention of breast cancer in older and high-risk women

-- Jeff Muise

Thursday, June 3, 2010 (Last Updated: 06/04/2010)

THURSDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Employing an antigen that is present in healthy women only during lactation, but is also found in most breast cancers, researchers have successfully tested a first-of-its-kind breast cancer vaccine in mice, according to a study published online May 30 in Nature Medicine.

Ritika Jaini, Ph.D., of the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues developed the novel vaccine using α-lactalbumin, a protein selected because it is not found in healthy women except during lactation and therefore would not be expected to cause damage to healthy tissue in older women. Genetically cancer-prone female mice were injected with either a vaccine containing α-lactalbumin or a vaccine without the antigen.

The researchers found that none of the mice vaccinated with α-lactalbumin developed breast cancer, while all of the mice not treated with the antigen did. There was no inflammation observed in the normal non-lactating breast tissue. Human trials could begin next year.

"Thus, α-lactalbumin vaccination may provide safe and effective protection against the development of breast cancer for women in their post-childbearing, premenopausal years, when lactation is readily avoidable and risk for developing breast cancer is high," the authors write.

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Specialties Urology
Hematology & Oncology
Family Practice

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