Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Cancer

Get Email Updates

Cancer Guide

Maryann Gromisch RN Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

Using Your Immune System to Treat Breast Cancer

By Lynette Summerill HERWriter
 
Rate This
Using Your Immune System to Treat Breast Cancer 0 5
Cancer related image
Arina Zaiachin/PhotoSpin

New personalized vaccines that amp up your own immune system could be a shot in the arm in the battle against breast and ovarian cancer.

Since the late 1800s, doctors have suspected that the human immune system plays a critical role in stamping out certain cancers, but back then the immune system was poorly understood.

In the last few decades, as researchers have learned more about how the human immune system works, immunotherapy has become an vitally important tool in treating tumors.

Immunotherapy, sometimes called biologic therapy or biotherapy, uses certain parts of the immune system to fight diseases. For some cancers, doctors are using vaccines that stimulate a person’s own immune system into working harder and smarter to attack invading malignant cells.

While this type of treatment seems ultra-futuristic, or even a bit like science fiction, researchers believe immunotherapy has great potential to become an effective tool in fighting cancer and other diseases, like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria — where current intervention strategies are lacking.

Several ongoing studies are examining to see whether or not metastatic breast cancer (MBC) responds positively to immunotherapy treatment. Here are just a few that could offer exciting news.

One pilot study recently used a recombinant poxvirus vaccine — genetically engineered immune system proteins used to target and destroy cancer cells — which showed a positive response in MBC and ovarian cancer patients, with far less toxicity than conventional treatments.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) treated 26 patients monthly with the PANVAC vaccine. All these patients were heavily pretreated, and 21 of them had received at least three prior chemotherapy regimens.

Among 12 MBC patients treated with the vaccine, the median time to progression was 2.5 months and median overall survival was 13.7 months, according to the study.

When the study concluded, four patients had stable disease, and one patient was cancer free.

Patients with stable or responding disease had fewer prior therapies and lower tumor marker levels than patients with no evidence of response.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Improved

1669 Health

Changed

625 Lives

Saved

472 Lives
2 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Have you ever participated in a clinical trial?:
View Results