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Vaccine could give hope to cancer patients

Australian researchers are working on a revolutionary vaccine to help people in their fight against breast and gastric cancer.

The vaccine, developed by Melbourne-based biopharmaceutical company Imugene, is designed to treat patients with higher-than-normal levels of the HER2 protein which can cause cancer to become more aggressive.

Imugene’s chief scientific officer Ursula Wiedermann said the vaccine helps stimulate a patient’s immune system to fight the cancer and could in future be used in combination with chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments.

Repeated doses of the vaccine would continue to be given to patients to help keep cancer at bay.

“It’s like tetanus, you need a booster vaccine to keep the memory of the immune system activated,” Prof Wiedermann told News Corp.

The HER-vaxx is currently being trialled among gastric cancer patients in Asia.

The HER2 protein, also known as human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, helps cells grow and divide.

But when too much of the protein is produced in the body it can cause cancer to grow faster and spread.

About one in five people have HER2-positive breast cancer.


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