I read with interest the article, “Breast Cancer Vaccines for Primary Prevention Move Toward Clinical Use,” which appeared in the December 15th issue of The ASCO Post (page 28). However, information presented regarding the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s (NBCC’s) Artemis Project for a breast cancer prevention vaccine is only a small part of this project.
The article states that “NBCCs Artemis Project for a breast cancer prevention vaccine has awarded seed grants to several researchers to search through breast cancer genomes for evidence of infectious agents not found in normal breast.” In reality, NBCC has awarded one small grant to do so, but the majority of the project and grant awards have focused on searching for the safest, most efficacious self- and neoantigens within both invasive and in situ carcinoma tissues and related datasets. We have made significant progress and now have a short list of antigen candidates that will be tested in the next phase of the project with immunologic studies.
By definition, a preventive vaccine is intended for a population of healthy women. Therefore, safety is our utmost concern. We want to develop the safest vaccine that is the most efficacious. A rush to clinical trials without appropriate preclinical testing is a concern for advocates. We intend to move the Artemis Project forward as quickly as possible, but with the utmost care and attention to obtaining the appropriate safety and efficacy data before meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prior to launch of a clinical trial. ■
—Fran Visco, JD
President, National Breast Cancer Coalition
Editor’s note: For additional information on the National Breast Cancer Coalition,
please visit www.breastcancerdeadline2020.org.