Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Australia and the second most common cancer-causing death in women. In Australia, 800 young women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and the disease claims the lives of more than 3000.
A new breast cancer vaccine that could potentially halt the disease from recurring is being developed by Australian scientists. While the vaccine will not be taken as a preventative measure to stop the disease first appearing, it will be given to newly diagnosed patients to stop it returning.
Headed up by Dr Roberta Mazzieri, a University of Queensland professor, the vaccine will be tested using the patient's own cancer cells in combination with immunotherapy drugs, with the aim to trigger the immune system into recognising the cancerous cells and destroy them before they spread.
"The project is exploring what is the best information to provide to the immune system and the best way to deliver that information," Dr Mazzieri said, per The Courier-Mail.
"The team have identified a number of potential vaccine targets, and will now test these in a specialised mouse model of breast cancer."
The research is part of 16 new projects from the National Breast Cancer Foundation, worth $10 million. Its aim is to have zero Australian deaths from breast cancer by the year 2030.