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National
Doctor developing vaccine that would prevent breast, ovarian and certain lung cancers
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Doctor developing vaccine that would prevent breast, ovarian and certain lung cancers

A Jacksonville doctor is working on a vaccine that would fight off several types of cancer.

Doctor developing vaccine that would prevent breast, ovarian and certain lung cancers

A Jacksonville doctor is working on a vaccine that would fight off several types of cancer.

He said he’s about halfway through the process before it would get to the market.

A vaccine called TPIV 200 would prevent breast, ovarian and some lung cancers, and it is being created in a Mayo Clinic lab by Dr. Keith Knutson.

"It would not only enable us to prevent disease from recurring in individuals, it would be paradigm shifting," Knutson said.

Knutson starting working on this concept back in 2007, and said he began testing the vaccine on animals that have developed breast cancer.

>> Read more trending news  

"That looked to be very, very promising, and enabled us to move into humans that develop breast cancer and ovarian cancers," Dr. Knutson said.

The doctor said the vaccine works by teaching the body’s immune system T cells to recognize cancer cells and attack.

"Hopefully, the immune system will kick in and get rid of the disease, that's the hope," Knutson said.

Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, with breast cancer affecting about 1 in 8 women.

This vaccine will be tested on the 15 to 25 percent of women who had triple negative breast cancer.

"They are very high risk for their disease coming back," Dr. Knutson said.

Some people said this is a long time coming.

"Cancer has been around for so long, and we have so much technology these days, this should have happened much sooner than now," Jacksonville resident Skye Reed said.

The doctor said he is hoping that this vaccine will become a primary prevention, but right now, it is being tested on people who have been treated for cancer, and the hope is that it will prevent it from coming back.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • A car crashed into the Aspen Dental at 11800 Atlantic Boulevard, according to Jacksonville Fire Rescue. Two patients have been transported to a nearby hospital, JFRD says. One has serious injuries.  Cookie Sistare told Action News Jax she was inside Aspen Dental when the car hit.  She described, “I was just getting some x-rays and as I walked out of the room about 2, 1 foot the car came right through.”  Monday afternoon cleanup crews were dealing with shattered windows, broken door frames and busted walls.  “We were both stepping out to go to another room and it came through. We thought it was like a cabinet falling over – the sound of it and then you see it,“ Sistare said.  Witnesses said the driver was okay.  Officers talked to those who were inside as they attempted to piece together what caused the crash.  Sistare said they are lucky more people weren’t hurt.  “[Those inside] were a little shaken up, but everybody said get out – so we got out,' she said.  As of Monday, employees at the dental office said it was unclear when they’d reopen the business.
  • A newly introduced bill would provide $10,000 to the Women’s Center of Jacksonville to help fund a sexual assault awareness campaign, if approved by the City of Jacksonville. The Women’s Center of Jacksonville, Inc. (WCJ) is a nonprofit Jacksonville-based organization offering education, support and advocacy to survivors of all ages and genders.  WCJ is the only certified rape crisis center in Duval, Baker and Nassau Counties.  The center has requested the funding to help with a sexual assault awareness campaign targeting students and young adults visiting the area during the spring break season.  Flyers and other advertisements will be posted at local restaurants, bars and hotels in Jacksonville, Neptune and Atlantic Beaches.
  • A Louisiana grandmother has been charged in the armed Valentine’s Day abduction of her 12-year-old granddaughter from a pediatric emergency room in New Orleans. Evelyn Miller, 66, of Metairie, was in the Washington Parish Jail Monday on a fugitive warrant out of Jefferson Parish, jail records show. She was being held without bond. Miller is also facing charges of simple kidnapping, five counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, two counts of simple battery and violation of a gun-free zone, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office officials said Saturday. She will be extradited from Washington Parish to face those charges. According to authorities, Miller went to Ochsner Medical Center around 5 p.m. Friday and brandished a revolver at staff members, including a security guard, while demanding they release her granddaughter, Andreana Miller, who was being treated for an unspecified ailment. Investigators told NOLA.com that as she fled with the girl, Evelyn Miller pushed a nurse to the ground and struck a second security guard with her vehicle, a 2019 Toyota Sienna. No one was seriously injured, NOLA.com reported. Louisiana State Police officials issued a Level II Child Endangerment Alert seeking Evelyn and Andreana Miller. Evelyn Miller’s Sienna was later recovered, though she and her granddaughter remained missing until Saturday, when they were spotted at a hotel more than 65 miles away in Bogalusa. Andreana Miller was found unharmed. A motive for the alleged abduction has not been made public.
  • Employees made a grisly discovery early Monday morning at a Walmart in Georgia. A person’s body was discovered inside a bathroom at the store on North Lee Street in Forsyth, according to WGXA-TV. Authorities responded to the call around 5:30 a.m. Forsyth police Maj. Alexander Daniels said the body was not that of a Walmart employee, WSB-TV reported. Investigators believe the body could have been in the bathroom all night. The person’s cause of death was not immediately known. The body was taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for testing, WSB-TV reported. As of Monday morning, the person’s identity was not yet confirmed. The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
  • “He finished his race in heaven this morning.” With those words, the family of 18-year-old Kolby Crum, a senior at Moore High School in Moore, Oklahoma, announced that he died Saturday morning, 12 days after an allegedly drunken driver -- who was mourning the loss of his own son -- smashed his truck into Crum and six other track and cross-country team members out for a run. Max Leroy Townsend, 57, of Tuttle, was taken into custody about three blocks from where the Feb. 3 crash took place. A police report obtained last week by several media organizations, including The Associated Press, indicated that Townsend was going 79 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone when he crossed two lanes of traffic, struck a parked vehicle and veered onto a sidewalk, where he struck the group of teens. He showed signs of impairment at the scene but toxicology results will take several weeks, authorities said. “It’s awful,” Moore Police Department spokesman Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said, according to the AP. “We’ve dealt with some really tough things, but that’s the worst ... seeing those kids laying there.” >> Related story: Oklahoma man facing manslaughter, DUI charges after plowing truck into high school students Lewis told KFOR in Oklahoma City that security cameras outside several nearby homes helped pinpoint how fast Townsend was driving at the time of the crash. The report on the crash showed the point of impact for each of the students struck. One student was thrown 169 feet after being hit, KFOR reported. Townsend’s own son, Cody Townsend, 28, of Tuttle, was killed in a crash the day before he struck the group of students, authorities have confirmed. The two fatal crashes happened about a mile from one another. Max Townsend is being held in a Cleveland County jail on two counts of first-degree manslaughter, four counts of personal injury accident while driving under the influence and seven counts leaving the scene of an accident involving injury, according to jail records. Each of the charges is a felony. As of Monday morning, he remained jailed with bail set at $1.2 million. The criminal charges are expected to be amended to reflect Crum’s death. Dustin Horstkoetter, director of safety and security for Moore Public Schools, said during a Feb. 4 news conference that the student-athletes were preparing for a run on a sidewalk near the high school when they were “violently struck by a vehicle.” Senior Rachel Freeman, 17, died at the scene. Sophomore Yuridia Martinez, 16, died early the next morning, Horstkoetter said. At that point, Crum was listed in critical condition. KFOR reported that Crum suffered traumatic brain injuries when he was struck. He was left comatose and needing a respirator to breathe following a series of strokes. Three other students, Ashton Baza, Shiloh Hutchinson and Joseph White, have been released from the hospital after being treated for a range of broken bones, according to the news station. White, who was Freeman’s boyfriend, also suffered a concussion, bleeding on the brain and a bruised lung. The AP reported that a seventh student was injured at the scene but was taken by personal vehicle to a hospital. Moore school district officials identified the student as Chance Marlett. Moore Public Schools Superintendent Robert Romines said Moore High School students who witnessed the devastating hit-and-run sprang into action, administering first aid and CPR in an effort to save their classmates. According to a column in the Enid News & Eagle, two Moore students also took the keys from the ignition of Townsend’s truck following the crash. The newspaper reported that witnesses said Crum, who lay critically injured, told his fellow classmates to tend to the other injured students first. “Their actions were short of heroic,” a visibly distraught Romines said of those who rendered aid to their fallen classmates. “So, very grateful to our students at Moore High School. “Obviously, our community is devastated. We’re hurting but we are embracing one another and doing that well.” Watch the Feb. 4 news conference held by Moore police and school district officials below.  He called the crash an “unspeakable tragedy” but said the school community would continue to hold one another up and grieve together. The district provided 16 of its own counselors to help students, faculty and staff process the situation and brought another 14 in from neighboring school systems. Counselors were helping students at the elementary and middle schools, where siblings of those injured and killed are students. Therapy dogs were brought in to help, Romines said. A vigil was also held at Moore High the evening of Feb. 4 for the students killed and hurt. “Keep our students, our staff and our families in your thoughts and prayers (as) we’re trying to process this unthinkable tragedy,” Romines said as he fought back tears. In discussing details of the crash itself, Lewis said patrol officers were called to the scene near the high school around 3:30 p.m. Feb. 3. When they arrived, they found carnage and, about three blocks away, Max Townsend and his red pickup truck. At the time of the Feb. 4 news conference, Lewis said investigators were still trying to determine why the crash occurred. The crash report released about a week later indicated that after striking the teens, Townsend continued driving on the sidewalk before veering back across the lanes of traffic and into a yard. According to the AP, he struck several other vehicles before coming to a stop. Joe Gonzales, who was babysitting his grandson at the time of the crash, told the AP he heard Townsend crash into his son’s car and went outside, staying with Townsend until police officers arrived. “He was just talking to himself, looking for his phone, and said ‘I just lost my son,’” Gonzales said. According to Fox25 in Oklahoma City, Cody Townsend was killed Feb. 2 when he rear-ended a vehicle and lost control of his own car, which flipped. His fatal crash was still under investigation when his father struck the Moore High track students. Max Townsend’s daughter, Cortney Townsend, declined to speak about her father’s crash when contacted by the AP. “I just don’t think right now is a good time,” Cortney Townsend said in the days after the incident. She has not spoken about the incident on social media, either, but her Facebook page is filled with memories of her late brother, who she described as “the kindest, most uplifting person.” “Anyone who knew Cody knew what a kind person he was. He always was trying to help people; he went out of his way for people,” Cortney Townsend wrote. She wrote on Feb. 8 about going out and riding a four-wheeler in his memory. “I love you Cody Townsend. I was truly blessed to have such an amazing brother and best friend,” she wrote. The slain high school students were also mourned heavily on social media. “Kolby has left his legacy with us -- that of kindness, strength and inspiration,” Romines wrote in a statement announcing his death. “Please continue to keep the families of Kolby Crum, Rachel Freeman, and Yuridia Martinez in your thoughts and prayers. I ask that you also continue to support our students who were injured and are physically recuperating -- Joseph White, Shiloh Hutchinson, Ashton Baza and Chance Marlett.” A statement on a page called Prayers for Kolby, which was set up as he fought for his life, also announced his death with “immeasurable grief and sorrow.” “He impacted the lives around him in positive ways every day. He is so loved by so many and will be deeply missed,” the statement read. “Please pray for peace that surpasses all understanding for his family and friends as they grieve the tremendous and devastating loss of this precious young man.” Martinez’s obituary describes her as a competitive girl who, besides running track, also played volleyball and softball. She also loved to bake. “She was very involved and loved to serve in her youth group at Sacred Heart Catholic Church,” her obituary reads. “She always had a smile on her face and was very playful and was very friendly. “Yuridia loved watching movies. She loved doing her nails and her hair, and always wore it straight. Yuridia wanted to be a hairstylist. She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.” In a statement from the Martinez family following the teen’s death, they said she was passionate about helping pregnant women who were homeless or in need. They said she “had a heart for service and helping people in need.” “We are living in a horrible dream that we can’t wake up from,” the Martinez family’s statement said, according to KFOR. “We were blessed for 16 years with an amazing baby girl who filled our home and our lives with joy and fun and beauty. “She loved her friends and adored her sisters. This is so difficult. We miss her very much. Please continue to pray for us, for Yuridia and for the children and families suffering this loss.” Freeman was also described as a competitor, but as someone who was always encouraging those around her. “Rachel loved life and loved people. She thrived on connecting with others,” her obituary reads. Her father, Michael Freeman, wrote the day after her death that everyone asking what they could do for the family could honor his daughter by following her example: to always smile, to love those who at times are “unlovable,” to find a purpose in life and to “take to heart Psalm 39:4: ‘LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.’” “Yes, you all can do something for us,” Michael Freeman wrote. “Something that will mean more to us than anything else. You all can make Rachel’s death matter by taking her life to heart, and fill the lives of those around you with joy.” Last week, Freeman wrote about the man who struck and killed his daughter, Martinez and Crum. “Some have asked what my feelings are toward Townsend,” he wrote on Facebook. “I can honestly say I’ve spent very little time thinking about him, his condition or his motives at the time. The criminal justice system is doing its job right now, and the investigation continues. “The Moore Police Department and others are working hard to develop and present the strongest evidence possible, and I support the strongest sentence that can be handed down. Mr. Townsend has clearly demonstrated that he is incapable of ever living free without being a danger to society.”

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