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Gene vaccine protects mice against development of Her2/neu breast cancer

neu groups did. In short, 86 percent of mice that received the vaccine were protected against the cancer. The experiment was repeated numerous times with the same result, says Lachman.

Researchers also worked with mice that were genetically engineered to over-express HER2/neu. These mice normally develop breast cancer in all ten of their mammary glands by the time there are 120 days old. In this experiment, they vaccinated the mice three times with VRP-neu, and "not a single mouse developed a tumor," says Lachman.

Lachman suggests the vaccine might prove helpful in keeping human HER2/neu tumors from metastasizing, or spreading, but adds that this notion must be tested in human clinical trials.

Lachman believes that the vaccine will address two additional safety considerations "because it is built of RNA that cannot insert itself into the genome, and the possibility of autoimmunity to it appears to be low, because normal cells express very small amounts of the HER2/neu growth protein."

Contributors to the study are first author Xiaoyan Wang, M.D., Ph.D. and Jian-Ping Wang, M.D., Ph.D., both from M. D. Anderson; and Maureen Maughan, Ph.D., from AlphaVax, Inc.


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Contact: Julie A. Penne
jpenne@mdanderson.org
713-792-0655
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
10-Jan-2005


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