Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Vaccine attacks breast cancer in mice

13 December 2011, 10:49

Washington - Scientists in the United States said Monday they have developed a vaccine that attacks tumours in mice, a breakthrough they hope will help fight breast, colon, ovarian and pancreatic cancer in humans.

Although studies on mice often do not translate directly into remedies that work for human subjects, researchers are hopeful because of the strength of the vaccine and the particular approach it takes.

"This vaccine elicits a very strong immune response," said study co-senior author Geert-Jan Boons, a professor of chemistry and a researcher in the University of Georgia Cancer Centre.

"It activates all three components of the immune system to reduce tumour size by an average of 80%."

The vaccine works by training the immune system to attack tumours that have a protein known as MUC1 on the surface of their cells, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

MUC1 is found on more than 70% of the most aggressive and lethal types of cancer, including most kinds of breast, pancreatic, ovarian and multiple myeloma.

"This is the first time that a vaccine has been developed that trains the immune system to distinguish and kill cancer cells based on their different sugar structures on proteins such as MUC1," said study co-author Sandra Gendler, professor at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

The protein is also overexpressed in 90% of breast cancer patients with so-called "triple negative" tumours that do not respond to hormonal therapy such as Tamoxifen, aromatase inhibitors, or the drug Herceptin.

These patients urgently need a new approach to their cancers.

"In the US alone, there are 35 000 patients diagnosed every year whose tumours are triple-negative," Boons said.

"So we might have a therapy for a large group of patients for which there is currently no drug therapy aside from chemotherapy."

A vaccine against MUC1 could be used in combination with chemotherapy, or as a preventive measure in patients at high risk for certain cancers.

Boons, Gendler and colleagues are currently at work testing the vaccine on human cancer cells in the lab, and could begin phase I clinical trials to test the safety of the vaccine by late 2013.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
DP Ruto accuses Raila of selling ...

DP Wiliam Ruto has castigated Raila Odinga for seeking western support to fund his 2017 election bid. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Peter Kenneth announces Uhuru 201...

Peter Kenneth has announced that he will support President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilon Ochieng
Labour Party to dump both Jubilee...

The Labour Party of Kenya is likely to avoid supportoing both the CORD and Jubilee factions during the 2017 General Elections. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Ukambani MP quits Jubilee, to run...

An Ukambani MP has quit the Jubilee Party, citing voter apathy as his reason behind leaving the ruling coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Government launches probe into Po...

The government has launched an inquiry into the circumstances that could have led to two National Police Service helicopter accidents in August and September this year. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...