Findings from a study published in Nature Medicine conducted by researchers at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute attracted lots of attention after the Institute’s public relations department issued a press release that shouted, “Cleveland Clinic Researchers Develop Prototype Vaccine To Prevent Breast Cancer: Research Could Lead to First Vaccine to Prevent Breast Cancer Formation in Women over Age 40 and Women at High Risk.”

The press release pronounced that the “first-of-its-kind vaccine to prevent breast cancer has shown overwhelmingly favorable results in animal models,” and quoted Vincent Tuohy, PhD, the study’s principal investigator, saying, “We believe that this vaccine will someday be used to prevent breast cancer in adult women in the same way that vaccines prevent polio and measles in children. If it works in humans the way it works in mice, this will be monumental. We could eliminate breast cancer.”

The media responded in droves, resulting in hundreds of international headlines like “Vaccine Appears to Prevent Breast Cancer in Mice” and “Experts Praise Promise of Breast Cancer Vaccine.”

It made me want to shout, “Don’t believe the hype!”

A few stories, like this one in USA Today went beyond the press release and included quotes from experts noting that “many drugs appear promising in mice, but very few succeed in humans.” But many more left women thinking that a vaccine to prevent breast cancer was just around the corner. (It certainly didn’t help that Dr. Tuohy was quoted as saying that enrollment for clinical trials in human patients could begin next year.)

Thankfully, the National Breast Cancer Coalition was quick to post a story on its website Know Breast Cancer that clearly described the study and that explained why many more studies will need to be done before its even known whether this approach should be studied in humans.

I encourage you to share this blog and their analysis with anyone who tells you that they just heard a breast cancer vaccine is just around the corner!

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18 Responses to A Breast Cancer Vaccine? Much Ado About Mice

  1. Nancy says:

    Hi there, I just found your blog and it looks like a good one and we just set up a new free web folder – directory and as a mention it is currently accept sites for free, so be one of the people that add its sites to the folder for free, please note: this is a human organized directory so we will remove links to sites that are not allow to list in the directory, thanks a lot,

  2. Mae Paolino says:

    Thank you so much for forwarding the information. Here I was thinking we will all get vaccinated next year! Wow! Now wouldn’t that be great! With all of us BRACA-1 positive, and I with my cancers, I’m just hoping that when the end comes, it will be from something other than cancer!

  3. nancy says:

    Just met with my Oncologist today (BRCA 2 postive) and he told me he is set to begin clinical trials on Dr. Tuoy’s breast cancer vaccine at his office this fall. I am not too familiar with clinical trials or how long it takes for something promising to begin human trials – but I would say this is pretty darn fast. Hope its a promising sign of the vaccine’s potential.

  4. Annamaria says:

    Nancy where do you live that trails will be this fall. I agree with you that this may be a promising sign of a vaccine possibilityl.

  5. Anne Smith says:

    Yes where do you live that the trial will be this fall. I live in the Boston area and have stage IV cancer and would like to be on the trial.

  6. art advicer says:

    I enjoyed very much reading your blog. I agree with all that is said about the awareness and how important it truly is in donating to the cause. Definitely in my prayers. I take pride in doing the walk a thons for breast cancer awareness and writing about art.

  7. Anne Smith says:

    Is this only for BRAC1 positive people or for all breast cancer?

  8. Anne Smith says:

    Oh I see it is for all breast cancers that have an overexpressed protein. I am already with tumor and I hope to get the vaccine asap.

  9. I find this boggling as I 1)never used HRT, 2) never smoked, 3) weigh 115 lbs, 4) do not drink 5) have run most every day since age three and 6) breast fed babies for 18 months each. What did I do wrong??? I have advanced breast cancer diagnosed at age 35. Exposed to great amounts of pesticides growing up. Did they think to check pesticide levels in urine?

  10. Christine says:

    I live in Australia. When Professor Ian Frazer commenced trials with his vaccine against cervical cancer, he was ridiculued. Turns out the vaccine did work when translated from animals to humans and now this vaccine is available as Gardisil all over the world. I am sceptical about this B/C vaccine being on the market soon, but I would certainly sign up as a human trial subject as soon as trials come to Australia.

  11. Just desire to say what a fantastic blog you got here! I’ve been around for quite lots of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Well done, and all the best!

    Cheers

  12. mae smith says:

    I am a patient in the Large Multivalient study Phase II for the so called breast cancer vaccine. It is a trial that I believe began in the fall of 2008. To be eligible to participate you must have’no evidence of disease’, metastic and the current tried and true method of treatment is not tolerated in your system. After 87 rounds of Herceptin, I had an allergic reaction. Therefore I had a choice to make. The tried and true method was Tykerb, the alternative was a trial for the breast cancer vaccine. This is not for everyone. The vaccine is easy, the days of Interleukine-2 are just awful. I am in Minnesota at the University under doctor Tuffia Haddad. I am not a mouse!

  13. Michele says:

    Ok im in direct contact with Dr Touhy i know of no trials yet but soon, they are still working on funding. However i was an oncology nurse chemo nurse and Im sorry to disagree with you but I believe he has it and stand firmly on that. this is not hype…the science is there.

    http://www.causes.com/causes/514033-stand-up-and-fight-for-breast-cancer-vaccine?m=4d513973

  14. Vera says:

    I agree with the comment above. Do you know how many people’s lives have been saved BECAUSE of studies done on mice? You’re probably still here because of some vaccination you’ve had in the past…. which was initially tested on animals.

    Anyway, the reason I’m commenting is to get people to help with the funding for this particular vaccine.

    Dr. Kathleen Ruddy is trying her best to get funding for Tuohy’s breast cancer vaccine. Please help! http://breastcancerbydrruddy.com/2010/12/19/playing-with-fire-the-breast-cancer-vaccine/

  15. Miranda says:

    Wow interesting read. I will definitely add this info in my site on how to check for breast cancer.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    Miranda

  16. Miranda says:

    Oh before I forget I also have another site on dcis breast cancer. Feel free to visit it.

  17. Shelley Dodt says:

    I ALREADY GOT A VACCINE FOR BC a year and a half ago.This is NOT pie in the sky. I had DCIS/Her2/Neu+ and received my vaccine in a clinical trial at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia by Dr. Brian J. Czerniecki. I was the 30th patient in the trial and we are up to 40 something right now. SO IT IS POSSIBLE. I know. It ate up all my tumor and my immunity is measured every six months. Some women have been followed for 6-7 years from an earlier trial. Check it out. Soon it will be expanding for Invasive BC. Dr. Tuohy’s vaccine is not pie in the sky either. It is certainly possible, he is just waiting for funding. And by the way, almost all of the 31 BC vaccines now in clinical trials were done in mice studies before they were used in humans. Dr. Kathleen Ruddy is right. I can’t figure out why some people refuse to believe in immunology, it seems to be the only thing that works indefinately.

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