SUNDAY, May 30 (HealthDay News) -- A study in mice suggests that a preventive breast cancer vaccine might be possible in humans, scientists say.
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Women may begin taking part in the next stage of research as soon as next year, they added.
"We believe that this vaccine will someday be used to prevent breast cancer in adult women in the same way that vaccines have prevented many childhood diseases," principal investigator Vincent Tuohy, an immunologist in Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute, said in a news release. "If it works in humans the way it works in mice, this will be monumental. We could eliminate breast cancer."
The study authors gave vaccinations to mice that were genetically engineered to be susceptible to cancer. The mice that were vaccinated with an anti-cancer antigen didn't develop tumors, but all the others did.
Researchers say the vaccine would be targeted at women over the age of 40, because it disrupts breast-feeding and older women are less likely to become pregnant. Older women are also more likely to develop breast cancer.
The findings were published online May 30 in advance of print publication in the journal Nature Medicine.
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SOURCE: Cleveland Clinic, press release, May 30, 2010