Cancer vaccine in the works by Jacksonville doctor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WSVN) – A professor in Jacksonville said he’s closer to his dream of a vaccine to prevent breast, ovarian and some types of lung cancer.

According to a FOX 13 report, immunology professor Dr. Keith Knutson said his dream would be to develop a vaccine to prevent cancer development.

“The hope is we can develop vaccines before the development of cancer much in the way that we use a polio vaccine or a flu vaccine,” said Knutson to FOX 13.

His vaccine is called TPIV 200, which works to teach immune system T cells to recognize cancer cells as the enemy.

The CEO of TapImmune, who makes TPIV 200, Glynn Wilson said clinical trials have been in place since 2012, and are now in “phase II.”

Wilson says the results so far have been encouraging.

“The vaccine was safe and well tolerated, but more importantly, we saw robust T cell responses. It’s a robust and long acting response, the type of response we like to see,” Wilson said.

However, Dr. Knutson said he knows he first needs to test the vaccine in patients fighting triple-negative breast and ovarian cancer.

“After individuals have been treated, we should start boosting their host immune defenses while there’s no disease on board so that they’re empowered if the tumor starts to come back,” he said. “Tumor cells definitely have ways that they hide from the immune response, evade the immune response. This particular strategy boosts the immune cells to high enough levels so actually when the tumors do start to grow back, there’s enough of them there that they can outrace potentially or beat out the growth of the tumor cells.”

The FDA said the team can fast-track the drug due to the need for new cancer therapies, allowing it to be used alongside traditional treatments like chemotherapy.

While they say there is still work to be done, they look forward to a vaccine that could make a huge difference in the lives of women.

“It’s kind of an interesting idea that we could prevent the development of breast cancer if you gave it to all women, and that’s something we look forward to in the future,” Knutson said.

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