New vaccine fights breast cancer recurrence

Posted at 5:32 PM, Sep 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-29 17:32:33-04

Every three minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. Every thirteen minutes, a woman dies of the disease.

For the women and men fighting the battle, the fear is that it could always come back.

Most recurrences happen five years after breast cancer treatments, which why Moffitt Cancer Center is working to fight that battle.

At any given time, 160 therapeutic trials are going on at the hospital.

Although researchers have made great strides, 40,000 patients die every year of the disease.

Some of those have fought breast cancer more than once.

Dr. Hatem Soliman says his new study is working to bring the rate of developing a tumor again down to zero.

“The vaccine treatment is for a period of three years,” said Soliman.

Right now, he’s looking for women and men who just completed the early stages of breast cancer treatments have the HER-2 protein.

Those are the patients with the most aggressive form of cancer.

“This is an example of a cancer cell that we can find floating in the blood. We know it's a cancer cell because we stain it with particular colors,” said Soliman.

If patients qualify, they will receive a combination of the NeuVax vaccine and the prescription drug Herceptin, hoping it will be a one-two punch to ward off cancer cells.

Early trials have shown the vaccine to cut the risk of recurrence in half.

“The vaccine is very safe, very well tolerated and does not cause any side effects when administered to women with breast cancer,” said Soliman.

Soliman says if this trial is successful, in five years women and men could be one step closer to never having to worry about breast cancer striking twice.

If you would like to sign up for the clinical trial call 813-745-4933 or go to