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Finally, the cancer vaccine may be ready by 2030 as BioNTech founders – Professors Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci say mRNA COVID-19 vaccine technology could be repurposed to help destroy cancer cells
Vaccines that target cancer could be available before the end of the decade, according to the husband and wife team who are the BioNTech founders – Professors Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci and behind one of the most successful Covid vaccines of the pandemic.
Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci, who co-founded BioNTech, the German firm that partnered with Pfizer to manufacture a revolutionary mRNA Covid vaccine, said they had made breakthroughs that fuelled their optimism for cancer vaccines in the coming years.
Guardian News wrote that when asked when cancer vaccines based on mRNA might be ready to use in patients, Prof Sahin said they could be available “before 2030”. So, finally, the cancer vaccine may be ready by 2030
An mRNA Covid vaccine works by ferrying the genetic instructions for essentially harmless spike proteins on the Covid virus into the body. The instructions are taken up by cells which churn out the spike protein. These proteins, or antigens, are then used as “wanted posters” – telling the immune system’s antibodies and other defences what to search for and attack.
The same approach can be taken to prime the immune system to seek out and destroy cancer cells, said Türeci, BioNTech’s chief medical officer. Rather than carrying code that identifies viruses, the vaccine contains genetic instructions for cancer antigens – proteins that stud the surfaces of tumour cells.
BioNTech was working on mRNA cancer vaccines before the pandemic struck but the firm pivoted to produce Covid vaccines in the face of the global emergency. The firm now has several cancer vaccines in clinical trials. Türeci said the development and success of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which is similar to the Moderna Covid shot, “gives back to our cancer work”.
The German firm hopes to develop treatments for bowel cancer, melanoma and other cancer types, but substantial hurdles lie ahead. The cancer cells that makeup tumours can be studded with a wide variety of different proteins, making it extremely difficult to make a vaccine that targets all of the cancer cells and no healthy tissues.
The news blog post on The Cancer Vaccine Development from the COVID-19 mRNA Technology was captioned: ”Cancer vaccine may be ready by 2030, say founders of COVID vaccine-makers”
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