New vaccine prevents breast cancer tumor growth in mice

by Julie Herman, website and social media coordinator, and Emily Butler, content coordinator

Scientists claim a new vaccine currently in mice trials could potentially eliminate breast cancer in women. An article in yesterday’s Business Week explains that a vaccine was able to prevent tumor growth in a population of mice genetically engineered to be at a high risk of developing the disease.

“We could eliminate breast cancer,” say the study’s authors, who are based at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, “if [the vaccine] works in humans the way it works in mice.” The authors also added that women may be able to take part in the research as soon as next year.

Women at high risk for breast cancer will no doubt be eager to enroll in the trials, but pioneering steps in medicine require careful consideration of possible new risks for human subjects.

How can investigators, IRBs, and HRPPs be sure to account for risks that may only appear in human subjects? What are the unique ethical considerations to address in moving this vaccine to a first-in-human trial? We’re eager to hear your thoughts on this exciting development, so please share your ideas and questions here on Ampersand.