Vaccine nips breast cancer in the bud

02/22/04

Preneoplastic lesions, detectable by breast cancer screening, are made up of altered cells that are not themselves cancerous but indicate an increased likelihood that a benign or cancerous tumor may subsequently form. In the March 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Federica Cavallo and colleagues from the University of Turin, Italy, evaluated vaccine strategies for treating neoplastic lesions. The authors designed a combined approach consisting of a primary vaccination with plasmids encoding portions of the oncogenic protein rp185neu and a booster vaccination one week later with cells expressing this protein and also engineered to release IFN-gamma. Of mice that received the combined vaccine, 48% remained tumor free for the duration of the study, a significant improvement over untreated mice and mice receiving only the primary vaccine. Both morphologic analysis of the lesions and microarray analysis of gene expression in parallel revealed that the immune reaction halted carcinogenesis and reverted neoplastic lesions to an early stage. This study highlights the potential of a combinatorial approach to vaccination for the prevention and suppression of neoplastic lesions.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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