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Moderna has launched a trial for an experimental mRNA ‘vaccine’ for cancer in the United Kingdom.
The therapy, which utilizes technology from the COVID-19 shots, was given to patients at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
“Cancer patients in the UK are receiving a new therapeutic to help their bodies recognise and fight cancer cells as part of a global trial,” Imperial College London stated.
New mRNA cancer vaccine from Moderna trialed in British patients https://t.co/d1jbNkKTad
— Living Forever (@LivingForever8) February 4, 2024
Imperial College London announced:
The first UK patients received the experimental mRNA therapy – a type of immunotherapy treatment called mRNA-4359 – at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust as part of a phase 1/2 clinical trial. The trial aims to evaluate its safety and potential for treating melanoma, lung cancer and other ‘solid tumour’ cancers.
The treatment is designed using messenger RNA (mRNA) and works by presenting common markers of tumours to the patient’s immune system. This should help to train patients’ immune systems to recognise and fight cancer cells expressing these markers, but also potentially eliminate cells that may suppress the immune response.
“Whereas the COVID-19 vaccines trained immune cells using mRNA of a protein on the outside of the virus, these experimental mRNA cancer immunotherapies incorporate mRNA of common marker proteins found in tumours,” Imperial College London wrote.
Moderna’s mRNA Madness: Cancer Vaccine Trials Unleash Genetic Circus in the UK! https://t.co/df4sEQwA2S
— Chris Wick News (@ChrisWickNews) February 4, 2024
In some cases, vaccines are created specifically for the patient in the lab using their own genetic information, while others are more general vaccines targeted at specific types of cancer.
In the latest development, British patients are trialling a vaccine called mRNA-4359 as part of an early-stage clinical trial that will initially look at safety as well as effectiveness.
The vaccine is aimed at people with advanced melanoma, lung cancer and other solid tumour cancers.
An 81-year-old man, who is taking part in the trial arm run by Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, was the first UK person to receive the vaccine at Hammersmith Hospital in late October.
The man, from Surrey, who does not wish to be named, has malignant melanoma skin cancer which is not responding to treatment.
He said: “I had a different immunotherapy, I had radiotherapy, the only thing I didn’t have was chemotherapy. So, the options were either do nothing and wait, or get involved and do something.
“During the trial, the vaccine will be tested alone and in combination with an existing drug pembrolizumab, which is an approved immunotherapy treatment, also known as Keytruda,” the outlet noted.
mRNA-4359 is among the dozens of mRNA products Moderna has in its pipeline.
The biotechnology company is developing mRNA therapies for influenza, RSV, HIV, Lyme disease, Zika virus, and others.
Read Moderna’s full mRNA pipeline HERE.