LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – There’s new hope for breast cancer prevention and treatment. A clinical trial at the Cleveland Clinic shows promising results in a vaccine, and a woman from Lisbon was one of the first to get the shot.
Jennifer Davis is one of 15 women who participated in the Cleveland Clinic and Anixa Biosciences trial last year — all of them in recovery from triple-negative breast cancer, one of the deadliest and most aggressive types.
“If we can prevent even just one form of breast cancer, that’s great. If we can prevent multiple forms of breast cancer, that’s even better,” said Dr. Amit Kumar, chairman and CEO of Anixa Biosciences.
Davis talked about her decision to participate in the trial and said it has given her hope that her cancer won’t come back.
“It really has changed everything for me,” she said.
Davis was diagnosed in September 2018. She described her journey as she scrolled through old photos, including early in her diagnosis when she cut off her hair before chemotherapy.
“I feel like that was the only time that I had a little bit of control in a situation that I had control over,” she said.
The Lisbon native says her husband and three kids and her community were always there for her through a year of chemotherapy, radiation and finally a double mastectomy.
“I never went to an appointment by myself, ever. They were there for me through everything,” she said.
Her husband tried to give her a sense of normalcy.
“Brian made me get out of bed and go to that concert, which I had a great time, but I was really sick after that,” she said.
Davis is now cancer-free, but over 40 percent of women diagnosed with triple-negative recur. The hope is that the vaccine will knock that rate to 0 percent.
During the trial, she got three vaccines over six weeks and says she had no side effects. Now, her body can recognize cancer cells before they turn into something bigger.
“When there are just a few or a handful of cells, the immune system can destroy them, and as a result, the tumor will never develop,” said Dr. Kumar.
Davis’s trial was a milestone, after decades of research for Anixa Biosciences and Dr. Vincent Tuohy at the Cleveland Clinic.
But there’s a lot more testing and human trials to go.
It could be seven years before the vaccine could be approved.
Davis said her hope in participating in the trial is that one day, her daughters will never go through what she did.
“I hope my daughters can get it, I hope their daughters can get it one day if they have kids, and everybody I know can get it, because I’d rather them get an injection than triple-negative,” she said.