Kellie Trombitas is a fighter. She underwent both chemotherapy and radiation to knock-out breast cancer over ten tough months. Now, she's excited to be cancer free. But Kellie still has concerns.
So she's taking part in a clinical trial to test E-75 a vaccine to help protect breast cancer survivors from recurrence. E-75 is a part of the HER-2 Neu protein which helps stimulate T-cells to attack cancer cells.
In trials, women injected with the vaccine saw a 50-percent reduction in recurrence. The drug Herceptin can do the same but in a different way.
Only 20% of breast cancer survivors, those with high levels of HER-2, can take Herceptin. E-75 developer George Peoples says three times as many survivors could benefit from his vaccine. It targets women like Kellie, who have lower levels of HER-2.
Doctor Peoples explained, "it allows us to use the vaccine for patients who are otherwise not eligible to receive Herceptin."
Kellie's still getting stronger, fighting to keep cancer from making a comeback.
Doctor Peoples says one day the vaccine could be used to fight lung, prostate and ovarian cancers that also express the her-2 protein.
Conemaugh Memorial in Johnstown is the one site in Pennsylvania that's still recruiting for the breast cancer vaccine trial.
For more information on the breast cancer vaccine trial.