Vaccine keeps breast cancer from recurring for KC woman

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.  -- During Breast Cancer Month, Shari Baker's story serves as a beacon of hope to those with the worst cases of the disease. It also holds hope for people with other forms of cancer.    

Back in 2005, Baker's breast cancer had spread to her spine. It was stage four cancer. Standard treatment put her in remission, but it was almost certain that the cancer would come back.

"I got my affairs in order. They said to get my affairs in order. I prepared a will. I stopped paying my taxes. No, I'm kidding, but they said they didn't know how long that -- that the statistics were three to five years," Baker said.

She went online to askican.org and found a clinical trial at the University of Washington for a vaccine. She received a shot once a month for six months.

"The goal of the vaccine is to target our own immune system and boost it so we can fight off the microscopic cells that might be left in our bodies," Baker said.

It revved up Baker's T cells to fight those foreign invaders.

"It really is amazing because T cells never forget," she said. "So it could be two years later, and if one of the microscopic cells starting growing and becoming a cancer, then it would attack it again and fight it off."

She's still in remission seven years later.  

"And it's given me hope and promise," she said. "And that's what I want to share with others -- is we need to participate in these trials and get these vaccines approved by the FDA and administered to patients like me."

Baker also wants others to know that there are organizations that will help you with transportation and lodging if you need to travel far away to take part in a trial.

Visit her website at pursuitforacure.com.

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