Peptide Vaccines for the Treatment of Breast Cancer

October 10, 2013
Elizabeth Mittendorf, MD, PhD

Elizabeth Mittendorf, MD, PhD, discusses the use of peptide vaccines for the treatment of breast cancer.

Elizabeth Mittendorf, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the use of peptide vaccines for the treatment of breast cancer.

A peptide is a small piece of a protein, Mittendorf says, but is large enough to be recognized by the immune system. A peptide vaccine is given as a simple subdermal shot once per month for six months, followed by booster inoculations.

If the peptide vaccine approach is proven to be efficacious, it would be cost-effective and simple to produce, making it more widely used than complex vaccine constructions. On the other hand, Mittendorf notes, peptide vaccines probably will not stimulate enough of an immune response to take care of an aggressive disease, which is why they are being investigated in the adjuvant setting.

Clinical Pearls

  • A peptide vaccine is given as a subdermal shot once per month for six months, followed by booster inoculations
  • A peptide vaccine would be cost-effective and simple to produce, making it more widely used than complex vaccine constructions
  • Peptide vaccines probably will not stimulate enough of an immune response to take care of an aggressive disease