Vaccine could cut risk of recurrence in breast cancer survivors diagnosed with the most aggressive sub-type by 50 percent

Oregon is ranked second highest in the nation for breast cancer incidences with an estimated one in eight women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

While breast cancer remains an unpreventable disease, Legacy Cancer Institute is participating in a promising new clinical trial that could reduce recurrence in breast cancer survivors.

Legacy Cancer Institute’s clinical trial is aimed at preventing recurrence in women who have survived triple negative breast cancer, or who have had lymph node involvement. This clinical trial combines Herceptin, a drug that is used to treat other types of breast cancer, and E75, a peptide-based vaccine aimed at preventing or delaying the recurrence of breast cancer in cancer survivors who achieve remission after surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

Legacy Cancer Institute is entering the study in Phase II after results from Phase I showed a 50 percent reduction in recurrence for patients with triple negative breast cancer. Survivors of lymph node positive breast cancer are also eligible to take part in the study. Phase II trials are placebo-controlled studies conducted to determine the effectiveness, side-effects, and potential risks of a new drug that is in development. Phase III trials would follow a much larger group of patients if this trial is successful.

“The number one fear of most survivors is that the cancer could return,” said Nathalie Johnson, M.D., medical director of Legacy Cancer Institute and Principal Investigator of the study. “This study presents new hope and new options for patients diagnosed with these aggressive forms of cancer. The ultimate goal of this line of research is to apply the science of this vaccine to other cancers and eventually one day prevent cancer from occurring in the first place. Vaccines are the next frontier in the fight against cancer and we are thrilled to offer participation in this phase II trial on a promising new treatment to our patients.”

Legacy Cancer Institute was selected as one of 20 hospitals across the United States to take part in the study and the only provider selected in the Pacific Northwest. The study will enroll 300 participants nationwide.

Legacy Cancer Institute is able to catch fast-growing breast cancers such as the triple negative subtype more often in its early stages as every Legacy Breast Health Center is equipped with 3-D mammography. The 3-D technology has been shown to find 27 percent more cancers and reduce false alarms by 15 percent. Legacy was the first to introduce the technology to Portland and is the first and only provider in the region to offer 3-D mammography to every patient, every time, at multiple locations.

As part of being accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), the breast health center at Legacy Good Samaritan meets strict staging and diagnostic quality guidelines. This means physicians assign clinical stage and subtype of the cancer and tailor the treatment for each individual diagnosis, creating better outcomes and eliminating unnecessary treatment for patients. This approach better prepares patients for clinical trials such as the one described above and ensures they are able to qualify.

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