By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – Just like getting a flu shot to prevent the flu, one day women may be able to get a vaccine to treat or prevent breast cancer.

Vaccines have long been used to prevent infections in humans but they are increasingly being used to fight cancer by training the immune system to recognize and destroy malignant cells.

Now researchers at the Mayo Clinic have developed a vaccine that may help stop the recurrence of breast and ovarian cancers but may also prevent them from developing in the first place.

While the lead scientist says it will be at least three years before they launch a large clinical trial in humans, he told Forbes magazine they hope to have a vaccine available in doctor’s offices or in pharmacies within eight years.

Dr. Mallika Marshall