A new cancer vaccine that has been undergoing clinical trials at the Mayo Clinic has reportedly been found effective at killing cancer cells in a patient with breast cancer.
Lee Mercker, a Florida resident, has become the first-ever patient to undergo a clinical trial for the new cancer vaccine after she was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in March.
Speaking to First Coast News, Mercker said she was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) stage zero breast cancer, meaning it did not spread.
She was advised either to get a lumpectomy done, to undergo a mastectomy, or undergo a 12-week clinical trial at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville for a new vaccine that can potentially kill the cancer cells and avert them from coming back. Mercker said, “I signed on the dotted line that day.”
She said the trial included a series of tests and shots. “They always took your blood, you had a physical, they’d make your shot right there on the spot for you,” said Mercker. “It was three shots, all in a row, alternating arms, four shots, two weeks apart.”
Dr. Saranya Chumsri, an oncologist at Mayo Clinic, said, “It [the new vaccine] is supposed to stimulate a patient’s own immune response so that the immune cells like t-cells would go in and attack the cancer.”
“It’s supposed to be just off the shelf, kind of similar to when you get the flu shot or pneumonia shot,” added Dr. Chumsri.
Still, Mercker required to get a mastectomy done to ensure everything was removed properly so researchers can view the breast tissue to understand and determine how the new vaccine works.
Another patient has reportedly been showing promising results with the new vaccine. Dr. Chumsri said, “Clinical trials for patients with other stages of cancer are also showing good results.”