Personalized vaccines that target cancerous tumors could be ready “by the end of the decade”, scientists say.
The cancer vaccine no longer seems a myth. “Vaccines are probably the next big step” in the quest to reduce cancer deaths, explained Dr Steve Lipkin, a medical geneticist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York who leads research funded by the National Cancer Institute. “We dedicate our lives to this.”
And it is likely that some vaccines will be developed before the end of the decade. In an interview published in the Guardian, Dr. Paul Burton, chief medical officer of the Moderna laboratory, explained that this personalized treatment capable of targeting certain tumors will be “very effective” with the potential to save “several hundred thousand, even million lives” by 2030.
An mRNA-based vaccine like the Covid-19 vaccine
It is the development of messenger RNA vaccine against Covid-19 which has made it possible to “boost” research and the development of a vaccine against certain cancers.
Doctors start by taking a biopsy of the patient’s tumor before genetic sequencing is used to identify mutations. An algorithm then identifies mutations that cause cancer to grow, then an mRNA molecule is produced with instructions to make antigens that will provoke an immune response and destroy cancer cells.
Which cancers are affected by the vaccine?
Currently trials are being conducted against melanoma, the most dreaded form of skin cancer. Other trials are targeting glioblastoma, one form of brain cancer.
But researchers are also working on developing a cancer capable of slowing certain forms of breast cancer, early-stage bladder cancer, and prostate cancer.
Source :Associated Press