New vaccine technique effectively fights breast cancer in mice

November 30, 2017

A new vaccine technique can fight a certain type of breast cancer in mice. So-called HER2-positive breast cancer accounts for between 20 and 30 per cent of all cases of breast cancer in humans. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the University of Bologna now show that the same type of cancer can be fought in mice with help of their new vaccine.

In cases of breast cancer, the immune system has difficulties distinguishing between cancer cells and healthy cells. Therefore, it normally does not launch a protective immune response that can prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading. But the research group at the University of Copenhagen is able to change that by adding an antigen which is normally expressed on the cancer cells onto the surface of a virus-like particle. They thus inject the particle into the bodies of the mice.

'Our virus-like particle with the added cancer antigen makes the body believe it is under attack. This makes the immune system produce large amounts of antibodies targeted at the cancer antigen, which then fights the cancer cells in the mice', says Associate Professor and author of the study Adam F. Sander from the Department of Immunology and Microbiology.

In the study, which was published today in the scientific journal OncoImmunology, the researchers have documented the beneficial effect of their vaccine technique in several ways. Because their vaccine both has a preventive effect and works when cancer has already developed.

They have given the vaccine to two different groups of mice genetically coded to spontaneously develop two different types of breast cancer. In one group only half of the mice developed cancer, which was characterised by significantly fewer and smaller tumours than usual. In the second group none of the vaccinated mice developed cancer.

Depending on the genetic variation in the mice the vaccine thus prevented breast cancer from developing in 50-100 per cent of the cases.

In addition, the researchers examined the vaccine's effect on two groups of mice already suffering from cancer. They had either been injected with fragments of a tumour or human cancer cells.

The vaccine cured 80 per cent of the mice with tumour fragments. In the group with human cancer cells all of the mice developed cancer, but at a much slower pace than usual.

The researchers also took blood from the mice that produced the relevant antibodies and tested it on human cancer cells. Here too the effect was hard to miss. All the human cancer cells bound to the antibodies in the right way.

The present treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer involves administering large amounts of antibodies fighting the cancer over a long period of time. The treatment is expensive and has side effects, and the immune system may become intolerant to the antibodies, which eventually have no effect. The researchers believe their vaccine by comparison will cost markedly less if its effect translates to humans.

'What is exciting about our treatment technique is that it makes the body do the work. We do not inject foreign antibodies, but leave it to the body to produce them', says Postdoc and author of the study Susan Thrane.

The Danish research group behind the study is headed by Associate Professor Adam F. Sander, who last year helped establish the spinout NextGen Vaccines Aps based on their research into vaccine techniques. This summer they established a joint venture company named AdaptVac Aps together with the company ExpreS2ion.

This study is one of the first large results of this collaboration, and the researchers hope they will be able to go on to conducting clinical trials on humans before long.
-end-
Watch and download video about the research result here: https://vimeo.com/244792408

University of Copenhagen The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Related Breast Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Oncotarget: IGF2 expression in breast cancer tumors and in breast cancer cells
The Oncotarget authors propose that methylation of DVDMR represents a novel epigenetic biomarker that determines the levels of IGF2 protein expression in breast cancer.

Breast cancer: AI predicts which pre-malignant breast lesions will progress to advanced cancer
New research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, could help better determine which patients diagnosed with the pre-malignant breast cancer commonly as stage 0 are likely to progress to invasive breast cancer and therefore might benefit from additional therapy over and above surgery alone.

Partial breast irradiation effective treatment option for low-risk breast cancer
Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast irradiation for many women with low-risk, early stage breast cancer, according to new clinical data from a national clinical trial involving researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

Breast screening linked to 60 per cent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
Women who take part in breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened, according to a study of more than 50,000 women.

More clues revealed in link between normal breast changes and invasive breast cancer
A research team, led by investigators from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, details how a natural and dramatic process -- changes in mammary glands to accommodate breastfeeding -- uses a molecular process believed to contribute to survival of pre-malignant breast cells.

Breast tissue tumor suppressor PTEN: A potential Achilles heel for breast cancer cells
A highly collaborative team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and Ohio State University report in Nature Communications that they have identified a novel pathway for connective tissue PTEN in breast cancer cell response to radiotherapy.

Computers equal radiologists in assessing breast density and associated breast cancer risk
Automated breast-density evaluation was just as accurate in predicting women's risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, in a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic.

Blood test can effectively rule out breast cancer, regardless of breast density
A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that Videssa® Breast, a multi-protein biomarker blood test for breast cancer, is unaffected by breast density and can reliably rule out breast cancer in women with both dense and non-dense breast tissue.

Study shows influence of surgeons on likelihood of removal of healthy breast after breast cancer dia
Attending surgeons can have a strong influence on whether a patient undergoes contralateral prophylactic mastectomy after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Young breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery see improved prognosis
A new analysis indicates that breast cancer prognoses have improved over time in young women treated with breast conserving surgery.

Read More: Breast Cancer News and Breast Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.