Unfortunately, I don't have anything to add on this, since I tend only to look now at things that have worked in people. Five years after diagnosis I have become jaded.
The cervical cancer vaccine is a totally different kettle of fish to any possible breast cancer vaccines.
Cervical cancer is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) which is a sexually transmitted virus. (Some strains cause genital warts.) About 70% of the UK population carries it.
Much hooha about the vaccine in feminist circles when it was first mooted as the HPV is carried innocuously on the male penis and yet it is young girls who are undergoing vaccination for it.
HPV infection can take a couple of decades to manifest itself into cervical cancer so the current trials will take a long time to see if they actually work.
The programme is aimed at year 8 girls (age 12/13), and there will be a catchup for all girls still of school age (ie up to current year 13), but my older daughter left school in the summer after A levels so she is a year too old.
NB according to my dad (a former research scientist) mice are particularly susceptible to cancer and aren't a very good model for humans. But I suppose you have to do trials on some kind of mammal.
Most of the national newspapers carried this story yesterday...but yes the Daily Mail is renowned for sensationalising any stories to do with cancer.
There are several labs working on vaccines for breast cancer in general, and her2+ in particular. Its important to realise that this report (like many others) is dependent on the use of rodents (mouse models) for its results.There are dozens and dozens of treatments each year which appear to be promising on rodents which come to nothing. Some researchers are very sceptical indeed about the usefulness of using mice in cancer research because of the huge numbers of false leads. I've no idea whether this particular vaccine may or may not be genuinely promising, but if it is it will be a while yet. One for you Christtine MH???
Suzannep...thanks for your thoughts. I think I might have contributed to the Bad News thread. Many people living with secondary cancer do talk openly at times about dying. I do so partly because I think the taboos surrounding such talk are so burdensome. Yes its scary, nightmarish and sad but that is the nature for many people of having a terminal illness. The only thing more scary for me is to have to pretend that I'm not going to die when I likely will or that a miracle cure will be found 'in time'.....though I'll give a couple more treatments a whirl and hope for the best, while living best I can with this nasty dangling sword of damocles.
Yes the cervical cancer vaccination is a breakthrough...and yes there will be a breakthrough for breast cancer for our children or grandchildren...but its not here yet.
I think the comments from people like Cancer Research and Breakthrough in this country are that this research is in the very early stages and has only been trialled on mice so far.
Roadrunner - Is your older daughter much older than your younger one? I thought they were rolling out the vaccine to a certain age group first and them extending it to older ones (although that does seem odd as it is the older ones who are more likely to be sexually active or approaching the time when they will be).
Mole - I didn't ise that about the Daily Mail. I must admit to having noticed that they sometimes do herald some miracle drug in the headline only to find out it is about 5-10 years down the line. I actually thought that the HPV vaccine hadn't been that long in the making so thought this may be along shortly too.
Also, I'm not in this position, but does anyone know whether you can contact researchers and try out these future treatments if you have run out of options and face an early death?
If it can't help us, maybe it can help our daughters when it is full developed. I am delighted about the cervical cancer vaccine that is coming out. My younger daughter will get this through the screening programme, my older daughter is just too old for this, so I am paying for her to have it privately. I couldn't bear the thought that she would remain unprotected, whilst her younger sister was OK.
Sounds fabulous but the Daily Mail is well known for its stories about health issues and things may not have advanced quite as far as we might like.
Still it does look hopeful
I just thought I’d reproduce an article I read yesterday in case anyone who is HER2-positive missed it:
“A jab to beat breast cancer is being developed by scientists. In tests, not only did it completely eradicate a particularly fast-growing form of the disease, it also stopped tumours occurring in the first place. Giving it to healthy young women could prevent more than 13,000 cases a year and save thousands of lives, the scientists claim.
Researcher Professor Weizen Wei said ‘The greatest power of vaccination is protection against initial cancer development and that is our ultimate goal'.
The vaccine, which is still in the early stages of development, fights tumours with extra-high levels the HER2 receptor protein on their surface. Genes containing the blueprint for the protein are injected into the body, where they start making it in high quantities. This triggers the immune system to attack existing tumours or equip itself to stop future ones.
The HER2-positive type of cancer accounts for up to 30 per cent of the 45,000 cases of breast cancer that occur in Britain each year. Although it can be treated with drugs such as Herceptin, they do not work in all cases. Tumours can also become resistant to treatment. In mice, the jab destroyed all tumours it was tested on – including those resistant to current drugs, the journal Cancer Research reports.
Professor Wei, of the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit in the U.S., said ‘This may be the answer for women with these tumours who become resistant to the current therapies. The vaccine could potentially eliminate the need to even use these therapies’ “.
Yesterday I read a heart-rending discussion on these forums entitled ‘Bad news’ about some bc sufferers who weren’t responding to treatment any more and were preparing for their early deaths. I was unable to respond due to feeling so emotional and at the same time frustrated that I was impotent to do anything to help them. I was just thinking that if any of those people are HER2-postive, perhaps they could contact the people who are developing this vaccine and volunteer to take this jab in it’s experimental stage, partly as an aid to research but mainly because it could potentially save their lives if it is as good as it sounds.