New Breast Cancer “Vaccine” Treatment Announced

This immunological vaccine won’t prevent breast cancer, but it could make treating the disease a lot easier and gentler for women.

Your body’s immune system is the most powerful defense against illness and disease—that means anything from a mild cold to something scary such as cancer. And when everything is working properly, it goes quietly about its work, like a germ-fighting ninja. Unfortunately, some diseases, like cancer, have the ability to mess with your immune system, sneaking past your defenses before you even know they’re there. But now scientists have announced a new treatment for breast cancer in the form of an “immunology vaccine” that enhances your immune system, allowing your body to use its best weapon to kill those cancer cells. (A diet high in these fruits and veggies can also slash your risk of breast cancer.)

The new treatment doesn’t work like other vaccines you’re familiar with (think: mumps or hepatitis). It won’t prevent you from getting breast cancer, but it can help treat the disease if used during the early stages, according to a new report published in Clinical Cancer Research.

Called immunotherapy, the drug works by using your own immune system to attack a specific protein attached to cancer cells. This allows your body to kill the cancer cells without killing your healthy cells along with them, which is a common occurrence in traditional chemotherapy. Plus, you get all the cancer-fighting benefits but without the nasty side effects like hair loss, mental fog, and extreme nausea. (Related: What Your Gut Has to Do with Your Breast Cancer Risk)

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