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A. A Vaccine For An Early Form of Breast Cancer

Narrator: This is Science Today. A vaccine that targets a protein common in an early form of breast cancer may prove to be an effective way to control the disease. Oncologist John Park of the University of California, San Francisco, says the protein is called HER2/neu, which in high levels, instigates an invasive cancer process.

Park: It's an unfortunate molecular event because it's associated so closely with the cancer, but it does provide an opportunity for us to turn the tables against the cancer itself by making the body mount a better immune response against that protein and against the cells that have it.

Narrator: The vaccine would stimulate the body to fight off high levels of this protein, which is commonly found in an early form of breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS.

Park: We want to target DCIS because vaccines are more likely to work when patients are pretty healthy and so their immune systems are already basically fully functioning. Current methods to deal with it are basically the same as we use for the full invasive cancers and for many women, that's really not a great option.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.