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A World Leader in Cancer Vaccines

The University of Connecticut is creating vaccines for triple-negative breast cancer—an especially aggressive type of breast cancer that is most common in women younger than 40 and accounts for 10 to 15 percent of all breast cancers. Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at UConn Health is a world leader in cancer vaccines. 

Cancer vaccines are special—different than usual vaccines. Typical vaccines against infectious diseases are designed to prevent infection. Cancer vaccines are not meant to prevent cancers, but to prevent or delay the recurrence of cancers after they have been treated with chemotherapy, surgery, and other modalities. 

Despite progress in treatment of breast cancers in general, triple-negative breast cancer remains challenging and an area of enormous unmet clinical need. The recurrence rate for triple-negative breast cancer is higher than other breast cancers, it spreads faster, and there are fewer treatments options. 

We’re developing game changers.

Faculty at UConn Health are pursuing two leading-edge approaches to cancer vaccines that may be administered to patients along with the standard-of-care treatments. 

Our first approach consists of creating personalized cancer vaccines that are tailor-made for each patient based on the differences in genetic signatures between the healthy tissue and the breast cancer. 

Our second approach is to create a set of off-the-shelf vaccines that can be used for large groups of patients. This off-the-shelf vaccine approach relies on the fact that triple-negative breast cancers are often deficient in an important protein p53. This deficiency creates biological processes that are unique to triple-negative breast cancer; we have used this uniqueness to create vaccines that work specifically in conjunction with chemotherapy. These new vaccines—named by us as CiPAS (or Chemotherapy-induced Products of Aberrant Splicing)—do not need to be personalized but can be used in all patients who receive the same chemotherapy and whose cancers are deficient in p53. These vaccines are among the most advanced vaccination against cancers in general, and triple-negative breast cancer in particular.

About the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center

Located in Farmington, CT, the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center is proud to be a part of UConn Health, the only research hospital in the area where medical staff and scientists collaborate to create new and better treatments for our patients. We invite you to explore our website and learn more about the comprehensive, cutting-edge care that our compassionate and supportive staff provides for our patients every day and discover why the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center is unmatched in its commitment to the absolute best cancer care available today.