new injection designed to stop Metastatic breast cancer in its tracks appeared to be safe in a preliminary trial.Fourteen women with Metastatic breast cancer that had spread were injected with a new injection that targets a specific protein, known as mammaglobin-A, that is found in high amounts in breast tumors.Although the study was small, the findings suggest that the new injection may also boost a patient’s immune response and help slow disease progression.
“I don’t want to oversell this,” cautioned study co-author Dr. William Gillanders, vice chairman for research in the department of surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “This is a small clinical trial. But we can say confidently that the new injection was safe,” he said.”We can also say with confidence that we were able to generate an immune response in almost all the patients who were vaccinated,” he added. “And there is preliminary evidence that the new injection may have an impact on Metastatic breast cancer progression. But that needs to be studied further to be confirmed.”Gillanders and his colleagues reported their findings in the Dec.
1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.The study authors noted that overexpression of mammaglobin-A is found in up to 80 percent of Metastatic breast cancer patients.The new injection prompts a specific kind of white blood cell in the immune system to track this protein down and eliminate it.
The women in the study were classified as having “advanced” disease. This meant they had prior exposure to chemotherapy, a process known to undermine a patient’s immune function.That said, none of the patients had undergone chemotherapy in the month leading up to vaccination.The team found that side effects from the new injection after one year were minimal, and included rashes, tenderness and mild flu-like symptoms.What’s more, by the one-year mark roughly 50 percent of the patients showed no sign of disease progression, the investigators found.
By comparison, only 20 percent of a similar group of 12 patients showed no signs of disease progression one year out, according to the study authors.Even though the researchers stressed the need for a larger, longer study, they theorized that if the new injection were given to newly diagnosed breastcancer patients who had not yet been exposed to chemotherapy, the new injection might prove even more effective at halting disease.”This trial wasn’t really designed to look at this question, which makes it difficult to interpret the results so far,” Gillanders noted. “But there’s been a lot of interest in the development of a prevention new injection for Metastatic breast cancer and other cancers.