Breast Cancer Vaccine Begins Clinical Trial

toddSpring 2013

By Susan Van Dusen

thomas-kieber-emmonsDeveloping a breast cancer vaccine to prevent recurrence — what Thomas Kieber-Emmons, Ph.D., calls his “life’s work” — is coming to fruition.

The Phase 1 clinical trial of the novel vaccine, developed by Kieber-Emmons at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, is showing promising results.

“The Phase 1 trial is to demonstrate the safety and tolerability of the drug using a small group of participants,” he said. The participants are selected by Kieber-Emmons’ fellow researcher and UAMS medical oncologist Laura Hutchins, M.D., and must meet a strict set of criteria to qualify.

The women receive five injections of the vaccine during a 23-week span. So far, none have experienced adverse reactions. “We are optimistic about the results in our trial participants,” he said.

After the Phase 1 trial is complete and shown to meet the safety and tolerability requirements, a Phase 2 trial will begin to examine the quality of the immune response in humans. This trial will include a larger number of women who were previously treated for breast cancer but are now disease free.

Kieber-Emmons is professor of pathology in the UAMS College of Medicine and holder of the Josetta Wilkins Chair of Breast Cancer Research.