New Advances in the Development of a Viable Breast Cancer Vaccine

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Expert: Dr. William Williams MD, CEO BriaCell Therapeutics Corp.

This summer, the cancer community was abuzz with the approval of a new arsenal against blood cancers. Immunotherapies such as newly approved CAR-T (Kymriah) has now come to the forefront of the fight against cancer, harnessing the body's own immune system in recognizing and selectively destroying the cancer cells while sparing normal ones. Immunotherapy, in addition to generally being more targeted and less toxic than commonly used types of chemotherapy, is also thought to be a strong type of approach aimed at treating cancer and preventing cancer recurrence.

Can an immunotherapy model work against breast cancer? BriaCell Therapeutics Corp, an immuno-oncology focused biotechnology company developing a targeted and safe approach to the management of cancer, believes they may have the vaccine technology available to teach the body to recognize and eliminate cancerous cells using BriaVax™, a whole-cell breast cancer vaccine genetically engineered to release granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), a substance that activates the immune system. BriaVax™ works by allowing the body to recognize and eliminate cancerous cells by inducing tumor-directed T cell and potentially antibody responses.

Encouraging Study Results

The results of a   preliminary Phase I clinical trial with BriaVax™ have been encouraging in patients with advanced breast cancer. Most notably, one patient with metastatic breast cancer responded to BriaVax™ with substantial reduction in tumor burden including lung and brain metastases. The company is currently conducting a Phase I/IIa clinical trial for BriaVax™ in patients with advanced breast cancer whose disease has progressed following at least one prior treatment course. 

William V. Williams, MD, FRCP, BriaCell’s President & CEO, is available to discuss:

  • How does cancer immunotherapy work? Why is there a great deal of excitement in this area?
  • What is current standard of care today for breast cancer? What are the limitations of these treatments?
  • How does this BriaVax work against late stage breast cancer?
  • How does a breast cancer vaccine such as BriaVax address recurrent breast cancer?
  • When will patients expect to be treated with a breast cancer vaccine.

About Dr. William Williams

Dr. Williams is a seasoned biopharmaceutical executive with over 35 years of industry and academic expertise, including significant clinical management in multinational pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Williams served as VP of Exploratory Development at Incyte Corporation from 2005 - 2016. There he facilitated entry of over 20 compounds into the clinic, including ruxolitinib (Jakafi), baricitinib, and epacadostat.

Dr. Williams served as Head of Rheumatology Research at the University of Pennsylvania, ran a major research program in receptor biology, including developing bioactive peptides that mimicked granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), a known stimulant of the immune system. He collaborated with David B. Weiner, Ph.D., a well-known leader in immuno-oncology and vaccine research, in the development of DNA vaccines and was able to bring novel DNA vaccines into the clinic for the treatment of cutaneous T cell lymphoma.

Dr. Williams earned his BSc. in Chemistry and Biotechnology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Medical Doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine. Following his residency at the Boston VA Medical Center, Dr. Williams completed fellowship training in Rheumatology and Cellular Immunology at the University of Missouri. He then joined the molecular immunology laboratory of Mark I. Greene, MD, PhD, FRCP, at the University of Pennsylvania, developed novel methods of bioactive peptide design, and collaborated in the study of the activation of the p185/Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) receptor. HER-2 is a protein which is known to promote the growth of cancer cells. Dr. Williams is the named author at over 130 peer reviewed publications, over 15 patents and numerous Investigational New Drugs (INDs) and NDAs.

For additional information on BriaCell, please visit our website:


Dr. Williams is available for in-studio appearances in the Tri-state New York City area and Philadelphia. He is reachable on SKYPE and Zoom.

Contact: Janet Vasquez/ JVPRNY 212-645-5498  [email protected]