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Messenger RNA technology, used in the Covid-19 vaccine, could advance the treatment of pancreatic cancer. A vaccine tested on 16 patients would prevent recurrences of this particularly virulent cancer.

Pancreatic cancer, this “silent killer” most often diagnosed late, when the tumor has developed outside the pancreas, is the 9th most common cancer in men and the 7th most common cancer in women.

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Due to its late diagnosis, pancreatic cancer is particularly lethal. This is why the announcement by the BioNTech laboratory of a messenger RNA vaccine that would reduce the risk of recurrence in patients with pancreatic cancer is particularly hopeful.

A vaccine tested on 16 patients

In a study published in the journal Nature, the researchers highlight the good results of a clinical trial based on messenger RNA, already used for the vaccine against Covid-19. This vaccine candidate was tested on 16 patients suffering from a virulent form of pancreatic cancer, 9 weeks after removal of their tumour.

The messenger RNA vaccine elicited an immune response in half of the patients treated, who suffered no recurrence of their cancer during the roughly 18 months they were followed. In patients who appeared to be unresponsive to the vaccine, the tumor reappeared about 13 months after the operation.

Source : Vaccine boosts T cells that target pancreatic tumorsNature, May 2023

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