CTA: Are tumors likely to become resistant to vaccine-based therapy?

Dr. Gillanders: It is theoretically possible that if we target MAM-A producing cells, resistant clones will develop, and that is something we will be looking closely at. On the other hand, often with vaccines you get epitope spreading—that is, the immune system begins to target antigens other than the one you vaccinated against.

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CTA: Might this vaccine have applications in other types of cancer?

Dr. Gillanders: We don’t anticipate that it will, because MAM-A is found almost exclusively in breast cancer cells.

CTA: Will cancer vaccines have a role in primary prevention of breast cancer?

Dr. Gillanders: There is potential for that. Just as HPV vaccine is being used for primary prevention of cervical cancer, a vaccine like this one may have a role in primary prevention of breast cancer, the difference being that it would be targeted against tumor-associated antigens rather than viral-associated antigens.


1. Tiriveedhi V, Tucker N, Herndon J, et al. Safety and preliminary evidence of biologic efficacy of a mammaglobin-A DNA vaccine in patients with stable metastatic breast cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2014;20:5964-5975.