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New vaccine for breast cancer

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New York, New York - May 31, 2010

Breast cancer could go the way of polio, measles and small pox thanks to a new vaccine. Scientists have had success with mice and they're ready to take the next step.

By next year researchers hope to start testing a breast cancer vaccine in women. A team at the Cleveland Clinic spent the last 8 years developing a single shot that prevents the disease in mice.

"It is not a very complicated process, this is immunology 101, there is nothing terribly fancy about it," said Dr. Vincent Tuohy of Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute.

In mice, the vaccine fires up the immune system to target a protein found in the majority of breast cancers. It halts the growth of existing tumors and prevents new ones from forming without damaging healthy tissue.

"Since breast cancer rises dramatically around the age of 40 that is the target population. We're eager to vaccinate adult women," said Tuohy.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 190,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed in the U.S. just last year. After skin cancer it's the most common cancer among American women .

"I think every woman probably has fears about it, because it is such a prevalent disease," said Dawn Whelihan of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

"When you have a fear of cancer or the spread of cancer now with breast cancer, you'll try anything," said Cindy Markus of Point Pleasant, New Jersey.

Cindy Markus is a skin cancer survivor. She goes to the doctor for her annual mammogram and welcomes the possibility of a breast cancer vaccine for future generations.

"I have my niece with me today and you worry to death about that age group," said Markus.

While the discovery is exciting news and even holds promise for the prevention of other types of cancers, the testing process in humans will take time.

If it's safe and effective we could see a shot to prevent breast cancer in about 10 years.

For a link to that report - http://www.lerner.ccf.org/

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