Over the past few years scientists have worked on a vaccine to help breast cancer patients. This new E75 vaccine that is in the final phases of clinical trials. Through the testing it has shown that women injected with E75, who have experienced the trauma of breast cancer, prevented recurrence in 50% of the patients. U.S. Army Col. George Peoples, chief of surgical oncology, at San Antonio Military Medical Center is the developer of this vaccine.
This is what Peoples has said in a recent interview:
"What I have been the most interested in doing in how to engage the engage the patients immune response, to help the patient's immune system to fight off the cancer,” said Col. George Peoples, a cancer surgeon and director of SAMMC's cancer vaccine development program, who's leading the study.
Like any vaccine, E75 primes the immune system to recognize a target — in this case a substance called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, or HER2. Most breast cancers produce some level of HER2, which fuels their growth.
And most breast cancer patients are tested for HER2, because those with the highest levels — about 20 percent of patients — can be helped by a drug called Herceptin.
But E75 seems to work best in patients who produce low to medium levels of HER2 — a group that makes up maybe 60 percent of breast cancer patients, and who usually aren't eligible for Herceptin.
Peoples has been studying different parts of the HER2 protein as potential vaccine targets since 1995, first as a civilian and then after a return to Army medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and SAMMC.