A newly developed vaccine to treat patients with metastatic HER2-positive cancers has been found effective, results from phase I clinical trial have shown.
HER2-positive breast cancer tests positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), which promotes the growth of cancer cells.
Besides being more aggressive, these are also less likely to be sensitive to hormone therapy.
"We are using a vaccine approach to generate an immune response to HER2, which is found at high levels on and drives the growth of several types of cancer, including breast, ovarian, lung, colorectal, and gastroesophageal cancers," said Jay A. Berzofsky, from the US National Cancer Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.
The trial showed that among the 11 evaluable patients, those who received more than the lowest dose of the HER2-targeted therapeutic cancer vaccine, six (54 per cent) demonstrated clinical benefit.
One patient with ovarian cancer had a complete response that lasted 89 weeks, one patient with gastroesophageal cancer had a partial response that lasted 16 weeks, and four patients (two with colon cancer, one with prostate cancer, and one with ovarian cancer) had stable disease.>