Trial Vaccine May Have Eradicated Breast Cancer in Florida Woman

Rebekah Sager
October 15, 2019 - 4:25 pm

A Florida woman was the test subject for a new vaccine that appears to have killed her breast cancer.

Lee Mercker, from Jacksonville, was diagnosed with an early form of breast cancer. 

Mercker, who claims to be a healthy and active person was shocked when she learned of her diagnosis but was eager to jump in and start treatment. She checked in at the Jacksonville Mayo Clinic when her doctor asked she'd be willing to be the very first human to try the experimental vaccine. 

"I signed up in like 10 seconds,” Mercker tells Fox 32. The Mayo Clinic team was ecstatic to learn the vaccine worked. 

"We saw some evidence of elimination of the tumor, as well as some evidence of the immune system crowding in,” Dr. Keith Knutson, from the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville said. 

In addition to the set of shots, Mercker also had a double mastectomy, just to be sure all of the cancer in her body was removed. Her breast tissue can continue to be researched. "I feel like I walked on the moon,” she said. "I worked in an industry with tons of women and I saw all kinds of stories, and it'd just be really nice to stamp this [breast cancer] out."

Knutson says Mayo expects to begin trials on the vaccine as early as next year, aimed at preventing breast cancer from forming in healthy patients, not unlike a flu shot, he says.