Breast cancer vaccine being studied in humans

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For the first time, a vaccine designed to prevent triple negative breast cancer is being studied in humans.

About 15% of breast cancers are triple negative, the most aggressive form.

Participants of the study will have been diagnosed with early-stage triple negative breast cancer within the last three years and are tumor free, but at risk for reoccurrence.

If breast cancer develops, the vaccine is designed to prompt the immune system to attack the tumor and keep it from growing.

"What we’re trying to do is what we call primary prevention. It’s actually preventing the disease from occurring to begin with. It was never there to begin with. We’re not trying to prevent recurrence. We’re trying to prevent the emergence of the tumor and prevent it from ever happening," said Dr. Vincent Tuohy of the Cleveland Clinic.

The research team has been working on developing this vaccine for nearly 20 years. It could take ten years or more before the vaccine is available to the general population, and only if results are favorable.