Czerniecki has tested with great success a cancer vaccine
for patients with early stage breast cancer. The study, which is ongoing,
sheds new light on how vaccines can inhibit tumor growth, lessen the
severity of the disease, and prevent its recurrence. His team investigated
a potential vaccine that targets HER-2/neu over-expression in early
stage breast cancer (DCIS). Over-expression of the HER-2/neu gene
is linked to about 50 to 60 percent of DCIS cases, and helps predict
the severity of the disease, as well as the risk of recurrence of
invasive breast cancer.
treating dendritic cells – specialized white blood cells that
play a major role in activating immune response – with HER-2/neu,
Dr. Czerniecki produced a vaccine he hoped would prompt an immune
response. In fact, researchers found that nearly all patients exhibited
an initial immune reaction to the vaccine, and half showed markedly
reduced levels of HER-2/neu expression, leading to overall improvement
in the severity of the disease.
Featured on the March 2007 cover of Cancer Research, this study
is a source of excitement and optimism in the medical community.
According to Dr. Czerniecki, these “vaccination strategies
may therefore have potential for both the prevention and treatment
of early breast cancer.”