Updated: Jul 16
Why should women of color be more concerned about Triple Negative Breast Cancer?
In researching the Internet, I found innumerable research studies sounding the alarm that Black and Brown women are at much higher risk for developing the most lethal form of breast cancer known as Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). If African American and Hispanic women are at higher risk, isn’t it essentially important that they are afforded the opportunity to partake in clinical trials offering adjuvant therapy to prevent recurrence, or trials to prevent the disease from occurring at all?
The definition of the word prevention is, “stopping an event from happening”. This is called primary prevention. The challenge is how can you prove primary prevention of a breast cancer vaccine? The first step is to find the “key” to prevent TNBC from recurring. Soon such a “key” to trigger an immune response is soon to be tested in a clinical trial of a breast cancer vaccine under the direction of Dr. Vincent Tuohy and Dr. Thomas Budd at the Cleveland Clinic. Looking forward, if we have such a “key”…why wouldn’t the “key” prevent the disease from happening in the first place? Since Black and Brown women are statistically not only more at risk for developing this disease, but also sadly succumbing from TNBC, it’s imperative that this study includes women from these communities.
The goal of the Phase I trial is to determine the safe and effective dosage of the vaccine. Yes, this can be seen as a preventive adjuvant treatment just like Tamoxifen targets estrogen, this treatment targets a protein called Alpha-lactalbumin which these aggressive cancers express. Presently, there is no adjuvant therapy like tamoxifen for TNBC, but if proven effective, this vaccine will provide women with this aggressive cancer hope for a cure.
Please encourage members of your communities, particularly in the Cleveland area or those willing to commute to the Cleveland area, to participate. For links and details of the trial, please see the information listed at the end of this article. All trial participants will receive the actual vaccine. There will be no placebo group.