Military researchers working on developing breast cancer vaccine

HOUSTON

Diana Potter is getting an experimental vaccine to prevent her breast cancer from coming back. She is a civilian from Sugar Land, and she's in a study at MD Anderson Cancer Center. But military researchers are actually spearheading the study. They've been working on this vaccine for 10 years.

"I do this so maybe my kids won't have to have this," Potter said.

Army researchers want to prevent recurrence of breast cancer because the rate of breast cancer in female soldiers is so high; it's 20 to 40 percent higher than among civilians. Why? They theorize women in the military get screened more regularly so cancer is caught early. And some soldiers work in toxic environments.

MD Anderson's Dr. Elizabeth Mittendorf says the results of the vaccine are promising.

"And we've largely shown the vaccine can reduce the risk of recurrence by about 50 percent," Mittendorf said.

Army researchers say they hope to have a breast cancer vaccine approved and available for all women in four years.

Military medical researchers are also starting trials to develop vaccines that can protect women from ovarian and uterine cancers.

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