Penn Breast Cancer Trial Offers New Hope for Cancer Vaccine Field

November 17, 2011

CBS News

The CBS Evening News highlighted Abramson Cancer Center research on a vaccine for ductal carcinoma in situ being led by Brian Czerniecki, MD, PhD, co-director the Rena Rowan Breast Center and surgical director of the Abramson Cancer Center's Immunotherapy Program. The personalized vaccine, made partly from a patient's own white blood cells, is being used in this early breast cancer in an effort to teach the immune system to stand guard against a cancer recurrence. "They're watch dogs for the body and they will protect anywhere they see a problem with the cancer proteins coming back," Czerniecki said. When he first looked under the microscope and saw the immune system was actually destroying the cancer cells, Czerniecki said it was "one of those 'ah ha!' moments where you look at it and you say, 'Wow! This is really doing what we thought it was going to do.'" The story also features a patient discussing her motivations for joining the trial, in which patients postpone their surgery to have a series of vaccinations prior to their operations. Her hope is that the vaccine may not only treat cancer, but one day stop it from occurring in the first place. "I hope it does come to that, that there is a vaccine - that people can be vaccinated against breast cancer and they'll never have to make some of these decisions." Read More and Watch Video

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