As medical technology develops, there is continued hope in the battle against breast cancer. Please note that Dr. Higgins does not necessarily endorse any or all of the methods listed here. This page is a repository of information you can use in your search to better understand the current state of breast cancer research.
Breast Cancer Vaccine Being Tested
Cleveland Clinic research scientists are testing a preventative vaccine that could someday help prevent triple-negative breast cancer. Phase I trials are now underway, and the FDA approved an application from the Cleveland Clinic and Anixa Biosciences. The clinic’s newsroom quotes the study’s principle investigator as saying, ““Long term, we are hoping that this can be a true preventive vaccine that would be administered to healthy women to prevent them from developing triple-negative breast cancer, the form of breast cancer for which we have the least effective treatments.”
Alcohol and Breast Cancer
Surely overdrinking isn’t good for your health, but there’s no increased risk of breast cancer for light drinkers is there? The answer from science: Yes, there is. Research, though, shows that even light alcohol use should be avoided. A 2018 review of the research found that even a couple of drinks per day elevates the risk of breast cancer by 13 percent. One drink each day boosts your risk by nine percent. Beyond breast cancer, other physical risks from alcohol consumption include liver disease, high blood pressure, and depression. Check this article for a deeper look at the statistics, but the bottom line is: Avoid alcohol to live healthier, but if you must drink, keep it to no more than one drink each day (for women) or two (for men)
Should You Have Breast Removal Surgery If You Have the BRCA Mutation?
Have you tested positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation? Some women choose mastectomy to reduce the risk of cancer. Should you? This article describes the increased risk of breast cancer from BRCA mutations and provides a list of indicators you can use to decide whether you should be tested. It also outlines what to do if you are BRCA-positive. The bottom line: “If you are at high risk of breast cancer, talk with your medical team about all of your options, and lean on the support and guidance of a breast surgeon, medical social worker and even mental health professional to help you find the right path for you.”
DNA-based Cancer Vaccine Triggers Immune System
Researchers think it may be possible to create personalized cancer vaccines by using DNA. The aim is to program the immune system to attack tumors — including breast cancer malignancies. The work is similar to the research that created the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The work is being funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the NIH, and others. For the full article click here.
SERDs in Advanced ER+ Breast Cancer
Studies show that the selective estrogen receptor degrader (SERD) amcenestrant may prove helpful in patients with estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer. Ongoing research is in progress. For now, though, breast cancer specialists are in a wait and see mode. For the full article click here.
The Micro-environment of Breast Cancer in Three Dimensions
Researchers at Penn State have developed a platform that will allow the culture and study of breast cancer tumors. The work could add to our understanding of how the tumors interact with their environment. The focus is especially aimed at breast cancer tumors that have so far been difficult to treat. For the full article click here.
Aggressive Breast Cancer Research Promising
Research scientists are working to prove the efficacy of a two-drug targeted therapy for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). One of the researchers had this to say: “What we found was beyond our expectations: the two drugs acted in a synergistic manner and efficiently reduced tumor growth in vitro as well as in vivo, using cell- and patient-derived xenograft models of TNBC.” For the full article click here.
Statin Drugs May Help in Breast Cancer Treatment
A study by the University of Toronto found that statin drugs (normally prescribed to lower cholesterol) may help prevent damage to the heart muscle during chemotherapy. The research is supported by previous studies. Data collected from cases involving over 2,000 Canadian women revealed the following:
Results indicated that patients who were prescribed anthracyclines as well as statins were 55 percent less likely to develop heart failure. Patients who were prescribed trastuzumab as well as statins were 54 percent less likely to develop the condition.
To read more, click here.
New Technology Could Help in Breast Cancer Surgery
Carle Illinois College of Medicine researchers say they are creating a new style of clip to help surgeons find and remove breast cancer tumors. The improved “Radiological Clip” will enable pre-clipped tumors to be easier to locate even after they’ve shrunk from chemotherapy. The technology will apply to other cancers as well, but breast cancer tumors will be the primary application. You can find the entire article on the WCIA website.