For the last eight years, Irish Immunologist Dr Vincent Tuohy has been searching for a vaccine for breast cancer at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, and he now believes that he has found it.
Tuohy came up with the idea when he realized that there are no vaccines for adult diseases. In fact, the only time vaccines are dispensed is when we are in our formative years, but this Irish immunologist decided to go after adult diseases.
“We have a wonderful vaccination program for children that protects us from polio, measles and 17 different diseases actually but it stops at age 13,” said Tuohy.
For the last eight years Tuohy has been researching and testing the vaccine on genetically engineered mice with a predisposition to breast cancer.
His results were astounding.
“By ten months 100 percent of the mice that were not immunized had breast tumors and none of the mice that were immunized had any tumors,” he said.
“There's nothing fancy about it, we're vaccinating against something that isn't there unless you have tumors, so it shouldn't harm you and it should kill the tumors.
“We think that breast cancer is a completely preventable disease in the same way that polio is completely preventable,” he added.
A-lactalbumin is the trigger protein found in lactating breasts. This protein is not found in normal healthy breasts. Tuohy believes that this vaccine could be given to women who have finished breastfeeding. The vaccine would then boost their immune systems and give their bodies the tools to kill off cancer but not damage the healthy breast tissue.
Tuohy is still waiting for funding to start human trials. He hopes that the help he needs will come from the Komen for the Cure and the National Cancer Institute so he can begin human trials.
His trials would begin with women suffering from metastatic breast cancer, and the next group would be women with the breast cancer gene BRCA 1 or 2.
It is Tuohy’s dream that he will be able to give women a single shot that will immunize them again this often-fatal disease. His plan is that the vaccine will be available within ten years.