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New vaccine aims to keep cancer from returning to triple-negative breast cancer survivors

“I’m very excited,” said Dr. Saranya Chumsri, an oncologist at Mayo Clinic. “I’m always believing in immunotherapy. I think that’s the future of cancer treatment."

A vaccine is in the works at Mayo Clinic that may hinder cancer’s return in triple negative breast cancer survivors.

“I’m very excited,” said Dr. Saranya Chumsri, an oncologist at Mayo Clinic. “I’m always believing in immunotherapy. I think that’s the future of cancer treatment. What’s the best way to treat the cancer than your own immune system?”

The trial consists of a series of shots that stimulate the patient’s immune response so immune cells attack the cancer and prevent its return.

The vaccine, known as folate receptor alpha vaccine, is being administered to about 70 patients currently undergoing the trial at Mayo Clinic.

“If you have the health and the stamina to be able to do it, we want no one to have to go through surgery and radiation and all that,” said Laraine Redshaw, a triple-negative breast cancer survivor and participant in the trial.

Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for triple-negative breast cancer survivors to receive the news their cancer has returned.

“You hear ‘aw, it's come back again,’” Redshaw said. “You get to thinking, that’s going to be me one day.”

Redshaw hopes this seven-year trial will prevent her from hearing that news.

Chumsri said patients have shown little to no side effects to the drug.

Mayo Clinic is always looking for more survivors who would like to participate in the trial, Dr. Chumsri said. For more information, you can call 1-855-776-0015.