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DoD close to final tests on breast cancer drug 

By Patricia Kime – Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Jan 17, 2012 16:16:25 EST
After more than a decade of study, U.S. military researchers are poised to enter final testing on a vaccine that greatly reduces the recurrence of breast cancer.

The vaccine, which works by teaching the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells by recognizing a specific protein found on them, has been through one trial involving 200 patients and was found to cut the recurrence rate by half.

The next study, to be conducted by commercial firm Galena Biopharma, will involve 700 to 1,000 patients. A successful study will pave the way for Food and Drug Administration approval, according to a Defense Department press release.

That study will take five years to complete, said Col. George E. Peoples, director of the Cancer Vaccine Development Program at San Antonio Military Medical Center.

A successful trial could have ramifications for patients with other cancers, Peoples said. The center already has tested it on prostate cancer survivors. Also, other cancers, including ovarian and lung cancer, exude the same protein, HER2, as the one the vaccine targets and could be candidates for future tests.

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