Would you rather get a vaccine that can prevent any potential risk of you getting breast cancer in the future or have a doctor discover a tumor in your breast and undergo chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation treatment?
We all know the answer is you’d rather get a preventive breast cancer vaccine. Dr. Vincent Tuohy from the Cleveland Clinic has been working at creating a workable breast cancer vaccine for years.
Tuohy’s preclinical trials on mice models have been very successful. However, Dr. Tuohy has had trouble getting more of the medical industry invested in his work, according to the Freshwater Cleveland publication.
“With a novel idea, the first reaction is resistance and pushback—people are intimidated by new ideas,” Tuohy told the news source. “I often liken it to the myth of Sisyphus. He had to push a boulder up a hill, and just before it would reach the top, it would roll back down again. He had to do that for eternity, and that’s what it feels like I’ve been doing for the last  years.”
However, the pushback is declining and his research is slowly being heard across the healthcare sector. The journal Society of Cancer Research will be publishing Tuohy’s work on an ovarian cancer vaccine in early November while the Department of Defense is offering more money – a total of $6 million – toward funding the research on the breast cancer vaccine.
“It feels like we’re finally getting some traction,” Dr. Tuohy explained. “Someday in the future, we will look back at this time and say, ‘Could you believe they didn’t have the breast cancer vaccine?’ That will be the success I’m hoping for.”
The idea behind cancer vaccines like the one from the Cleveland Clinic entails taking a more proactive approach to preventing the disease much like in childhood vaccination programs.
This is a much more favorable idea than aggressively treating breast cancer once a patient is diagnosed. Any woman would tell you they’d prefer a vaccine to getting chemotherapy, lumpectomy, or radiation.
“We live in an era where we deal with cancer by waiting for it to happen and then beating the daylights out of it,” Tuohy stated. “What I’m proposing is not offense in the form of radiation and chemotherapy, but a defense in the form of a preventive vaccine. We need to change the treatment mindset for controlling cancer.”
The potential solution is to create a vaccine program for adults that could target diseases as we age such as a vaccine against breast cancer, prostate cancer, or ovarian cancer.
“What’s missing in our culture is that we stop vaccinating in adulthood—the last vaccine on the schedule is HPV. It’s a giant deficiency in our healthcare that we simply do not have primary disease prevention for adults,” continued Tuohy.
There are a number of different charities and community organizations that have supported Dr. Vincent Tuohy’s work on the breast cancer vaccine. The Breast Health & Healing Foundation is one of these supporters.
Another charity that has raised as much as $500,000 for this research is Brakes for Breasts. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many auto shops across the country give free brake pads for every brake service and donate 10 percent of the brake service fee to The Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Vaccine Research Fund.
If you are located in New Jersey, DeBoer’s Auto, 83 State Route 23, is one of the auto repair shops taking part in the Putting the Brakes on Breast Cancer event, according to the New Jersey Herald.
More than 100 auto repair shops are taking part in offering free brake pads in order to get more customers and putting 10 percent of the money they make into the breast cancer vaccine research fund.
The Women Who Care About Breast Cancer coalition is another supporting foundation located in Cleveland. This organization worked with others to get more money funded for this incredible cause. It was founded by clinical psychologist Marjorie Moyar and former Race for the Cure organizer Susan Larson.
“This vaccine is for our daughters and granddaughters,” explained Moyar. “When they grow up, they’ll have this option of a vaccine instead of facing surgery, chemo, or radiation.”
If you would like to donate to the Cleveland Clinic preventive breast cancer vaccine and the Breast Health & Healing Foundation, click here.