The mRNA vaccine against cancer attacked the tumor in 48 hours

The mRNA vaccine against cancer attacked the tumor in 48 hours

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An mRNA vaccine against cancer manages to reprogram the immune system to attack glioblastomas in less than 48 hours

The results of a study published in the journal Cell indicate that the use of mRNA and lipid nanoparticle technologies could represent a great advance in combating cancers that are highly resistant to treatment.

The mRNA cancer vaccine, developed at the University of Florida in the United States, quickly reprogrammed the immune system to attack glioblastoma, the most aggressive and lethal brain tumor. To harness the patient’s own tumor cells and carry out a personalized response, researchers have created a complex delivery mechanism designed into the vaccine. To achieve this, they launched the first clinical trial in humans with four adult patients, the results of which have been published in the journal Cell.

Like other immunotherapies, this new vaccine attempts to “educate” the immune system that a tumor is foreign. “The reason we’ve done it in the context of cancer is that these clusters alert the immune system in a much deeper way than individual particles would,” says Dr. Elias Sayour, a pediatric oncologist at the University from Florida, a pioneer in this research. In order to make the most of their unique immune system, the vaccine was personalized for each patient.

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Dr. Sayour: “We were able to activate the initial part of the immune system very quickly against these cancers, and that is essential to unlock the later effects of the immune response”

The rapid action of this new technology has been one of the aspects to highlight, comments Dr. Sayour “In less than 48 hours, we were able to see how these tumors went from what we call ‘cold’ to a ‘hot’ and very active. “We were able to activate the initial part of the immune system very quickly against these cancers, and that is critical to unlocking the downstream effects of the immune response.” Glioblastoma is among the most devastating diagnoses, with a median survival of around 15 months. The current standard of care involves surgery, radiation, and some combination of chemotherapy.

The results reflect those of 10 dog patients with naturally occurring brain tumors, as well as results from preclinical mouse models. This publication is the culmination of studies that have lasted seven years. “Dogs offer a natural model for malignant glioma because they are the only other species that develop spontaneous brain tumors with any frequency,” says Dr. Sheila Carrera-Justiz, DVM, veterinary neurologist at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. Patients lived disease-free longer than expected or survived longer than expected.

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Breakthrough will now be tested in a Phase 1 pediatric clinical trial for brain cancer

An expanded Phase 1 clinical trial will soon be conducted, including up to 24 adult and pediatric patients to validate the findings. Once an optimal and safe dose is confirmed, an estimated 25 children will participate in Phase 2, Sayour reports. Some of the limitations remain how to best harness the immune system while minimizing the potential for adverse side effects.

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