Cleveland Clinic Innovations
has launched a spinoff company, Shield Biotech, out of the Lerner Research Institute
. Led by Vincent Tuohy, the company is developing a vaccine for breast cancer.
The vaccine uses the body’s own immune system to fight off and kill cancerous tumors. Tuohy, who serves as Shield’s chief science officer, has been working on this theory for the past 11 years.
The next step is to secure FDA approval for human clinical trials, probably within the next two years. Researchers found that a single vaccination could prevent breast tumors from occurring in mice genetically bred to develop breast cancer, while also inhibiting the growth of already existing breast tumors. The research was originally published in Nature Medicine
“It works in animals,” says Tuohy. “It’s safe and very effective. We’d like to see women live longer without tumors, not women live longer with tumors.”
Tuohy sees the vaccine as particularly effective in breast cancers that are aggressive and tend to recur. “Triple-negative breast cancer has a higher recurrence rate than other forms of breast cancer and is insensitive to current forms of adjuvant therapy,” he says. “It’s the predominant form of breast cancer that occurs, for example, in women with BRCA1 mutations. “
Tuohy sees potential in eventually immunizing against prostrate and ovarian cancers as well.
Source: Vincent Tuohy
Writer: Karin Connelly