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Trials Underway For Breast Cancer Vaccine
BALTIMORE (WJZ) ―
The cervical cancer vaccine advanced women's medicine and researchers at Johns Hopkins are working toward the same goal with breast cancer.
Clinical trials are underway right now for a vaccine that doctors hope will one day wipe out the killer disease. They tell Healthwatch reporter Kellye Lynn, that the first phase of the trials look promising.
"We have designed a vaccine from cancer cells themselves," explains
Susan Marangi is one of nearly 50 women taking part in
She was first diagnosed with stage one breast cancer 19 years ago. She's had chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, none of which worked long term.
"It finally became extremely clear to me that I was going to die," she tells WJZ's
Marangi was cancer free for 11 years. Now, she's terminal, with stage four breast cancer and she's giving her body up for research.
"Knowing that the current treatment was only going to be 20 or 30 percent effective, it's not in my makeup to wait for something to happen."
As part of the clinical trials, Marangi is given the vaccine to help the body defeat the cancer. Dr. Emens says it works much like the recently approved cervical cancer vaccine.
"The problem with cancer is because it comes from within you, our immune system says, 'So what. I have seen this before.' Our idea is to re-educate the immune system to recognize tumor cells more like an infection, like a cold virus, and to seek out and to destroy cancer."
The vaccine is injected under the skin and is given with low doses of chemotherapy. Side effects are minimal but the research is in the early stages and years away from hitting the market. Still, Dr. Emens says the potential is staggering.
"I believe eventually we can, prevent the disease from happening in the first place."
Susan Marangi believes if the vaccine doesn't help her, it will save somebody.
"When they first came out with the polio vaccine, somebody had to be the first person it worked on," she tells WJZ. "I don't know if I will be that person, but I am sure somebody will be that first person that this particular vaccine works on."
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