-- Today, there are vaccines for a host of diseases, including polio, smallpox, and chicken pox. Administering these vaccines
is also as simple and effective as literally giving the patient "a shot in the arm."
In this new era of vaccine development, researchers at a New Jersey-based biotechnology company,
Advaxis, Inc., are working on a suite of new vaccines to treat women with different types of cancers, including breast cancer.
Yvonne Paterson, Ph.D., the scientific founder of Advaxis as well as a Professor of Microbiology
at the University of Pennsylvania, and her team, have already taken a giant step in the development of a series of cancer-
Central to the team's discovery is the microbe Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium found in dairy
products. Dr. Paterson built upon the well-known fact that when Listeria is introduced into the body, it has an extremely
powerful, direct stimulatory effect on the activities of immune killer T cells.
By modifying Listeria to deliver cancer antigens, Dr. Paterson was able to direct this response
to kill cancer cells. These modified-Listeria vaccines harness the power of the immune system to mount an attack against the
Listeria and at the same time, redirect the immune system to also attack the cancer cells.
In early studies, Dr. Paterson used the Listeria bacterium to deliver the tumor-associated protein
HER-2/Neu to immune cells. HER-2/Neu is over expressed in 20 to 40 percent of all breast cancers. These cells eventually enlist
killer T cells to seek out and destroy the tumor cells that over-express the HER-2/Neu molecule.
The vaccine called Lovaxin B is now in pre-clinical testing. The company is planning on manufacturing
sufficient quantities of the vaccine and is seeking FDA approval for a clinical trial.
As a breast cancer survivor herself, Dr. Paterson is committed to the development of cancer-fighting
remedies both personally and professionally. Paterson first hit on the idea of using Listeria as a cancer vaccine over ten
"It took a while to dissect what elements of an immune response were best able to cause the rejection
of established tumors," she says. "But it has paid off and we are very excited to see the technology finally being tested
in cancer patients."
For more on Advaxis, log on to http://www.advaxis.com.