One shot, no cancer cells. That’s like the dream of all human beings: to beat the demon that has taken countless lives. Researchers in Mayo Clinic seem to have succeeded in a battle with cancer: their vaccine killed the breast cancer cells in a clinical trial of a patient called Lee Mercker.
Mercker was diagnosed as breast cancer at an early stage, when the cancer cells in the ducts of her breasts had not yet spread. Although it’s good news, she still felt shocked.
“I’m an exercise fanatic, I eat right. But it just can knock on anybody’s door.” Said Mercker.
She had three options to treat the cancer:
A lumpectomy where the cancer cells are removed;
A mastectomy where the breasts are removed;
Joining a clinical trial for a potentially life-saving vaccine that could prevent the cancer cells from coming back.
Mercker chose the third one, and became the first participant in the clinical trial.
It was a 12-week process. She got “three shots, all in a row, alternating arms, four shots, two weeks apart.” As a part of the trial, Mercker also had a mastectomy for the doctors to examine if the cancer cells were removed properly.
After receiving the vaccine, her rumor shrunk, her immune system started killing off the cancer cells. it worked. Mercker is now healthy again.
According to Dr. Saranya Chumsri from Mayo Clinic, the vaccine helps the body fight cancer cells. “It’s supposed to stimulate a patient’s own immune response so that the immune cells like T-cells would go in and attack the cancer.”
Mayo Clinic plans to start larger-scaled clinical trials in 2020. If you’d like to learn more about how to join a clinical trial at Mayo Clinic, call 1-855-776-0015.