Researching Possible Cancer Vaccines
July 22, 2011 – During the 20th century, the human lifespan increased dramatically, and a big part of the reason was the development of vaccines against infectious diseases. Now, researchers at the Siteman Cancer Center are working on vaccines against cancer. The idea, according to oncologic surgeon William Gillanders, MD, is to equip the immune system to fight off cancer. Gillanders, professor of surgery at Washington University, is part of a team investigating potential breast cancer vaccines that would be used to prevent cancer recurrence or even treat breast cancer after it’s been discovered. Researchers at Siteman are currently directing a phase I clinical trial of a vaccine for a protein called mammoglobin. Gillanders says the protein is dramatically overexpressed in breast cancer. They also are working to use genome sequencing to develop personalized vaccines for patients with breast cancer.