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Breast cancer research and study information will be prevalent over the next couple of months ,as we move towards national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For many women breast cancer is a reality that spans much further than 1 to 2 months a year. According to an online published article early study results show promise in the creation of a breast cancer vaccine. According to the article the vaccine that is in the process of development is geared towards preventing the recurrence of breast cancer in women who have a form of tumor that is known as Her2- positive, according to researcher Dr. Diane Hale, a research resident in general surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio. The vaccine is called the “HER2-based peptide vaccine AE37,” and is designed to take advantage of the power of the patient’s immune system based on its reaction to a cancer linked peptide or protein. “The theory is that once you form that [immune] response to the specific peptide, if the body has a recurrence, it will recognize that cancer as a bad thing, a foreign thing,” Hale explained in an association news release. At the time of the online publishing of the article the vaccine was in the phase 2 stage and was still in need of phase 3 before it could be approved. Scientists were cautious and stressed that the study results are early and even if phase 2 and phase 3 yield positive results the vaccine could still take at least five years before it would be available.
Breast Cancer Vaccine Still Years Away
Approximately one of every five breast cancer cases include cancer cells that produce an excess of Her2 positive cancer cells due to a genetic mutation. Her2 positive cancer cells are extremely aggressive compared to other types according to the American Cancer Society. The study had 217 participants who were breast cancer survivors that had undergone treatment and were free of breast cancer at the beginning of the trial. The women were randomly chosen to receive either the vaccine combined with an immune stimulant or the immune stimulant alone. The participants who were vaccinated showed a decrease in certain cells that suppress the immune system. This is positive, because an increase is associated with the likelihood of recurrent breast cancer. Researchers reiterated that the results are extremely preliminary and that whether they will correlate into increased survival rates still remains to be seen.
Breast Cancer Reconstruction
Dr. Seify remains hopeful and encouraged as breast cancer research continues to unveil promising options for breast cancer survivors. Dr Seify is an ASPS board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in both cosmetic as well as reconstructive plastic surgery. It is clear that improved breast cancer treatments and vaccines will have a significant effect on the reconstructive choices available for women once they are diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr. Seify is committed to working one-on-one with each patient to develop the best individual breast reconstruction treatment plans.