Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, with almost 1.7 million cases diagnosed per year and more than half a million deaths every year (Ferlay et al. 2013). In developed countries, 1 in every 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. In Europe, there is a breast cancer diagnosis every 2 minutes and a death due to breast cancer every 6 minutes. Breast cancer mostly affects older women, with the majority of patients being over the age of 50 when diagnosed, although around 1 in 5 breast cancers are diagnosed before the age of 50. Breast cancer in men is rare and makes up around 1% of breast cancer cases.
Despite higher incidence rates, deaths due to breast cancer in most Western countries have decreased in recent years due to improved treatment and earlier detection (Balogun and Formenti).
The selection of the treatment options for breast cancer depends upon the size, location and number of tumours and the pathology (subtype, grade and presence of biomarkers) of the tumour, as well as the age and general health of the patients.
Traditional treatments for breast cancer include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Hormonal therapy, which can reduce levels of estrogen and progesterone, may also be used to prevent disease recurrence in women with hormone receptor-positive tumors.
There are currently three approved immunotherapy options involving targeted antibodies for patients with tumors that overexpress the HER2 protein receptor. Although these innovative therapies are associated with significant efficacy, not all breast cancer patients respond to these therapies. Moreover, many patients progress or relapse despite receiving this treatments, and thus require novel treatment approaches.
New therapeutic strategies for breast cancer are needed to improve clinical outcomes for breast cancer patients, particularly those with advanced disease.
eTheRNA immunotherapies aims to contribute significantly to the development of innovative and effective therapies to help these patients. A study in neo-adjuvant Breast cancer is conducted in collaboration with the Free University Brussels to study the effect of administration of Trimix in the tumor before surgical removal.