Mayo Clinic secures $13.3M DOD grant to test TapImmune breast cancer vax

For women with triple negative breast cancer, treatment options are limited, and now TapImmune and the Mayo Clinic are looking to change that.

With the help of a $13.3 million grant from the Department of Defense, Mayo Clinic's Florida campus will conduct a nationwide Phase II study of TapImmune's folate receptor alpha vaccine in patients with the cancer, beginning early next year.

The study will examine the candidate in 280 patients with triple negative breast cancer, for which there is no treatment other than standard surgery and chemotherapy. In speaking with the Florida Times-Union, TapImmune CEO Glynn Wilson said he believes the vaccine can work in 90% of women--compared to existing vaccines, which are effective in about 20% of women--"and last a very long time."

TapImmune CEO Glynn Wilson

"Department of Defense financing is part of its long standing commitment to breast cancer research, and the combination of this grant, together with our own independent financing of clinical programs, provides a significant boost to developing this extremely promising approach to provide new therapeutic options for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer," Wilson said in a statement.

The study builds on a previous Phase I study between Mayo Clinic and TapImmune in Minnesota and an ongoing, separate study in ovarian cancer. In the future, TapImmune will look to run trials with checkpoint inhibitors, the Times-Union reported.

Also working on breast cancer vaccines are Galena, Washington University in St. Louis and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, with the demand for such jabs being one factor expected to grow the cancer vaccines field at a CAGR of 27.24% through 2019.

- here's the release
- more from the Florida Times-Union