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New breast cancer vaccine clinical trial underway at Providence Regional Cancer Partnership

Providence Regional Cancer Partnership is now enrolling patients into a new breast cancer vaccine clinical trial. Known as the NeuVax trial, this study will determine the effectiveness of a HER2/neu vaccine to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer.

The trial is available to women who have been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, or who are currently undergoing therapy, or who have completed therapy in the last three months and are at risk for recurrence of breast cancer. Trial participants need to have had breast tumor cells which show a range from low to intermediate amount of the HER2/neu protein on their cell surfaces.

Women who meet the criteria or have questions about meeting study criteria can schedule an in-person visit to discuss the expression of HER2/neu on their cancer cells and obtain a blood test to determine if they are an HLA A2 or HLA A3 protein carrier, which is also a requirement for the trial. Qualified trial participants will be treated on trial for one year and will be followed for two additional years. An office visit is required every three weeks.

The costs should be small: the vaccinations and blood tests are free to participants. The patient is required to pay for the physician visits, however, Medicare and most insurance plans consider these visits “standard of care” and will cover the cost of the visits. All trial patients will be offered a consultation with a financial counselor to determine what the out-of-pocket costs will be.

Jason Lukas, MD, PhD, is an oncologist at the Cancer Partnership and lead investigator of this trial. He says, “The most exciting and novel research in oncology now is immunotherapy. The early breast cancer vaccine studies are promising and this trial will help determine if recurrence of breast cancer can be decreased dramatically.”

Dr. Lukas says, “We’re hoping for positive results and to eventually be able to routinely use this vaccine in conjunction with our current methods of treatment to decrease or prevent recurrence of breast cancer. The idea of the vaccine is to boost one’s own immune system to battle the cancer cells, and unlike conventional chemotherapy, immunotherapy holds the promise of continued, and possibly lifelong, cancer fighting ability.”

Providence Regional Cancer Partnership is the only cancer center in the state to offer the breast cancer vaccine clinical trial. Women who have not had their cancer treatment at Providence Regional Cancer Partnership can participate in the trial as well as those who have had treatment there.

Who can join the study?

If you have had breast cancer surgery in the past three months or are still undergoing treatment, you may be considered for participation in the study if you:

  • are at least 18 years old
  • carry the HER2/neu protein in low or intermediate amounts
  • are able to come every three weeks to the Providence Regional Cancer Partnership in Everett
  • do not have certain other health problems such as an autoimmune disease

Please contact the Clinical Research Coordinator at 425-297-5531 or visit CancerPartnership.org/Trials for more information.

Categories: Women's Health, Prevention
Topics: NW Washington

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