- The Washington Times - Friday, October 11, 2019

A vaccine undergoing clinical trials has shown success in eliminating cancer cells from the body of a breast cancer survivor.

Lee Mercker — the vaccine’s first test subject— joined the clinical trial after she found out in March she had breast cancer.

“DCIS stage zero. I’d never heard of it.” Ms. Mercker said, First Coast News in Jacksonville, Florida, reported on Thursday. “I’m an exercise fanatic, I eat right, but it just can knock on anybody’s door.”

The cancer had yet to spread to the rest of her body so she chose to try a vaccine being tested by the Mayo Clinic that could possibly rid her of the cancer cells.

Dr. Saranya Chumsri said the vaccine — which is administered just like a flu shot — is “supposed to stimulate a patient’s own immune response so that the immune cells like t-cells would go in and attack the cancer,” and Ms. Mercker said the 12-week process worked.

“They always took your blood, you had a physical, they’d make your shot right there on the spot for you,” Ms. Mercker said. “It was three shots, all in a row, alternating arms, four shots, two weeks apart.”

Dr. Chumsri said Ms. Mercker still had to have a mastectomy to make sure “everything was removed properly,” but it allowed researchers to study how the vaccine could affect the body.

Dr. Chumsri hopes this vaccine will help prevent cancer and said other trials have shown positive results, including those patients with Stage 4 cancer.

• Bailey Vogt can be reached at bvogt@washingtontimes.com.

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