“This is an exciting strategy that seems to elicit a complete
immunologic response against HER2/neu,?says the study’s lead author,
Lawrence Lachman, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Experimental
Therapeutics. “Now that we have gone as far as we can in animal
studies, I hope this agent might be tested clinically both to treat
HER2/neu breast tumors, and to prevent them from spreading.?Up to one-third of human breast cancers are associated with
over-expression of the HER2/neu cell surface receptor protein, which
continuously “tells?the cancer cell to grow, this producing an
aggressive disease that is difficult to stop.
The drug Herceptin treats this kind of breast cancer by “plugging?these receptors with a monoclonal antibody, but this treatment
“produces only a passive and transitory immune reaction,?Lachman said.
“This vaccine, however, like many that treat microbial infections,
appears to create a memory in the immune system that produces a lasting
protective response.?The vaccine used in this study is a
“viral-vectored?approach, in which a naturally occurring virus is
re-engineered to be propagation defective but still able to function as
a delivery system for proteins from the cancer cells that are to be
targeted by the animal’s immune system.
The basis for this new va
Source:M.D. Anderson Cancer Center