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Dr. Brian Czerniecki, chair of the breast cancer program at Moffitt Cancer Center, connected with our Facebook friends in the Ask The Experts series to answer your questions about the breast cancer vaccine.  

Here are some abbreviated questions Dr. Czerniecki answered during his interview. Watch the video below for a complete recap of the Facebook Live event.

Is the breast vaccine for all types of breast cancer and will this help women who already have breast cancer?  

It is a vaccine for patients who already have breast cancer. It’s designed to prevent recurrence similar to what the shingles vaccine would do or someone who had chicken pox and the virus is already in them and they are getting a vaccine to prevent the virus from coming out. It would be similar for cancers. This one was designed for HER2 but there are other subtypes of breast cancer that we have antigens for that we can make vaccines for almost any subtype of breast cancer. Those haven’t been tested in clinical trials yet but they will be coming.

Is triple negative breast cancer possible to prevent with the breast cancer vaccine?

We haven’t taken anything into prevention but to try to prevent recurrence of triple negative breast cancer we have some relatives of the HER2 vaccine that we are going to be testing. 

What are some of the side effects or toxicities of this vaccine?

The vaccine toxicities would be similar to what one would experience when they have a mild form of flu. It’s similar to a flu vaccine, where you could get a little fever, chills or be a little tired for a few hours after the vaccine has been administered. Other than that, they have been very minimal.