mRNA vaccine for cancer shows promise at Tufts University

mRNA vaccine for cancer shows promise at Tufts University

A study in PNAS in August 2022 presented an mRNA vaccine for cancer that targets the lymph nodes instead of the liver. Researchers at Tufts School of Engineering believe that this method is “so strong and precise, it eliminates tumours and even prevents their recurrence”.  

This vaccine delivers mRNA in small lipid bubbles that fuse with cells that can then produce viral antigens. Specifically, the lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) “zero in on the lymphatic system”. The team created LNPs that “favoured delivery to the lymph nodes over the liver by a three-to-one ratio”. Professor Qiaobing Xu stated that “targeting the lymphatic system helped us to overcome many of the challenges that have faced others in developing a cancer vaccine”. He and his colleagues have previously targeted LNPs to the brain and liver, as well as the lungs. 

Tufts reported that over 20 mRNA cancer vaccine candidates have progressed to clinical trials, but “usually much of the mRNA ends up in the liver”. On the other hand, in the lymph nodes, the vaccine was “absorbed by about a third of dendritic cells and microphages”. This produces more B and T cells, which in turn cause a stronger immune response.  

Mice with metastatic melanoma demonstrated “significant inhibition of tumours and a 40% rate of complete response” when treatment was “combined with another existing therapy”. Furthermore, the cancer vaccine prevented additional tumour formation, suggesting “excellent immune memory”.  

Postdoctoral researcher fellow, Dr Jinjin Chen, stated that “cancer vaccines have always been a challenge”. This is because the tumour antigens don’t appear as “foreign” to the body and the tumours can inhibit the immune response.  

“This cancer vaccine evokes a much stronger response and is capable of carrying mRNA for both large and small antigens” 

The hope is that this vaccine will become a “universal platform” for effective vaccines against more viruses and other pathogens as well as cancers.  

To get updates on cancer vaccine technology at the World Vaccine Congress in October 2022 click here for your tickets. 

University partners find MND therapy potential

University partners find MND therapy potential

In August 2022, researchers announced evidence that Terazosin “protects against the death of motor neurones”. This is a step towards an effective therapy for motor neurone disease (MND). The study, published in eBioMedicine, used funding from MND Scotland and the My Name’s Doddie Foundation. It was the result of a partnership between the University of Edinburgh and the University of Oxford

Professor Kevin Talbot of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences emphasised the need to “accelerate the way drugs are developed”. His team’s work combines approaches “to increase confidence” in drugs that slow disease progression. 

“It represents an important new step in the search for therapies.” 

MND is a rapidly progressing illness that weakens communication between the brain and the muscles. It affects around 5,000 adults in the UK. The average life expectancy is 3 years from the onset of symptoms. The chances of an adult getting MND are 1 in 300. As there is not cure for MND this research is particularly exciting. Although it is unclear why motor neurones die, experts know that a “decrease in energy” occurs at an early stage of the disease. Without energy, messages do not transmit between the brain and the muscles. This results in impaired movement.

Terazosin targets enlarged prostates or high blood pressure. However, it is also known to increase energy production in “models of stroke and Parkinson’s disease”. This research focused on an enzyme called PGK1 and found positive results in zebrafish, mice, and stem cell models. Next, the team will invite 50 patients from the Oxford MND Care and Research Centre to take part in a feasibility study.  

Dr Jane Haley MBE of MND Scotland is “delighted” at the prospect of a feasibility study. She praised this collaboration as a “wonderful example” and hopes that it will provide a step towards a cure.  

To participate in discussions about life-changing therapies at the World Vaccine Congress in Europe, 2022, click here for tickets.

Tired T-cells need TLC to continue fighting cancer

Tired T-cells need TLC to continue fighting cancer

T-cells are known to get “exhausted” when fighting cancer. Early exhaustion can sometimes be reversed with immunotherapy drugs, but until now it was believed that this had limits. Genengnews.com reports that recent studies by University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre (UPMC) indicated the possibility of reviving “the most fatigued T-cells”.  

The researchers “profiled molecular features” of the cells as they moved from “early to terminal exhaustion”. The team noted that “differentiation to exhaustion is progressive”. It is represented by “at least two transcriptionally and functionally distinct states: one progenitor or stem-like and another terminally differentiated”.  To their surprise, the results suggested that terminally exhausted T-cells could “be functional again”.   

Dr Amanda Poholek of Pitt’s School of Medicine and the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh stated that these findings “have incredible potential for immunotherapy”. Providing T-cells with “rest” can enable them to “come back”.  

Currently some cancer immunotherapies can reverse exhaustion, giving T-cells a boost. Unfortunately, terminally exhausted cells do not usually respond to these therapies. However, the team is optimistic that understanding of the “transition from progenitor T-cells to terminal exhaustion”, will promote further advances. Despite this hope it is “unclear” if these cells have “therapeutic potential to gain effector capacity”.  

Co-senior author, Dr Greg Delgoffe of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Centre, stated that in order to “bring the promise of immunotherapy” to more people, scientists need to better understand the process of failure in T-cells. With this goal, the researchers profiled the cells’ epigenome and were “really surprised” to discover that they had “the potential for recovery”.  

In these cells it became apparent that something was “inhibiting gene expression”. They identified that “terminally exhausted T-cells had insufficient co-stimulation”. When addressed with an antibody that binds to a co-stimulatory receptor, 4-1BB, “gene expression increased”.  

Further investigations revealed that hypoxia, “common in the tumour microenvironment”, also influenced gene expression. Thus, when programmed to resist hypoxia, the cells “differentiated into a more functional state”.  

“Our data highlight the convergence of both immunologic signals and pathologic environmental signals that redirect differentiation to exhaustion” 

Dr Delgoffe believes that “restoring oxygen or improving co-stimulation” will push these cells to their “full potential”. The paper concludes with the hope that new approaches could “target hypoxia or co-stimulation pathways”. The ambition is to contribute to therapies that “take full advantage of all subsets of tumour-infiltrating T-cells to eradicate cancer cells”.

To hear about developments in the fight against cancer click here to secure tickets to the World Vaccine Congress in Europe, 2022.

Immune system map uncovers therapeutic potential

Immune system map uncovers therapeutic potential

In August 2022 scientists published a “comprehensive map” of the immune system. Released in Nature in August 2022, this research is expected to open new opportunities for immunotherapies by exploring key cellular communications.  

The research identifies several “previously unknown interactions” that bring us closer to understanding immune responses. All knowledge of the interactions between immune cells is “vital” in developing immunotherapies. Furthermore, understanding the “cell-to-cell” signals within the immune system allows researchers to pursue preventative measures against autoimmune diseases.  

“The map of immune receptor connections could help explain why immunotherapies sometimes only work in a subset of patients, and offer new targets for designing future immunotherapies” 

The researchers “isolated and investigated” a set of the surface proteins that “physically link immune cells together”. Using computational and mathematical analysis they then detailed “cell types, messengers, and relative speed of each conversation”.  

With the map, it is possible to see the effect that each different disease has on the immune system. Then we can explore new therapies that target different proteins on the immune cell surface.  

Jarrod Shilts, first author, stated that this map is a “huge step in understanding the inner workings of the immune system”. He hopes it will be used globally to “develop new therapies that work with the body’s defence mechanisms”.  The analysis and methods used provide a “template” for investigation into “physical cell wiring networks”. The authors hope that further research will “disentangle cellular circuits in immunity and beyond”.  

To hear from researchers and industry leaders at the World Vaccine Congress in Europe 2022 click here to buy tickets.

Improving protein factories for gene therapies

Improving protein factories for gene therapies

Gene therapy tackles the source of disease in the patient’s DNA through viral or bacterial vectors. Most commonly, muscle cells are targeted because muscle injection is an accessible entrance to the body. However, muscle cells may not be capable of producing the right protein. A recently published study explores how changing protein regulation networks can enhance muscle cells’ ability to respond to gene therapy.  

AAT deficiency is a condition in which liver cells produce insufficient quantities of the protein AAT. Consequently, serious respiratory problems can develop, such as COPD or emphysema. Common treatment involves regular hospital trips for infusion or investment into expensive home equipment. However, Dr Terence Flotte developed an injectable AAT gene therapy that allows sustained AAT release over several years. Unfortunately, he found that because muscle cells can’t produce the AAT proteins, the increase after gene therapy was limited.  

The recent study explored the options for transforming muscle cells into better protein production sites, like liver cells. They tested several on mice muscle cells to see if they would boost AAT secretion and found that adding suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) enables this. In the future, the hope is that using SAHA or similar proteostasis regulators to gene therapies would ameliorate treatments for genetic diseases.  

This study has “implications beyond just gene therapies”, according to Professors Daniel Hebert and Lila Gierasch. They believe that mRNA vaccines, which work according to cell production of proteins, “face the same limitations as gene therapies”.  

“Increasing the protein production of muscle cells could potentially improve vaccine immunity.” 

Furthermore, lots of drugs are derived from natural sources and “rely heavily on a given cell’s protein production capabilities”. Professors Hebert and Gierasch think that a protein homeostasis enhancer could “optimise protein yield and increase the effectiveness of the drug”. This would have implications beyond drug development, for neurodegenerative diseases, for example. They look forward to further research on “ways to improve the cellular machinery” to “open many new doors” against a range of diseases.

To hear from industry leaders at the World Vaccine Congress in Europe, 2022, head to this page to buy tickets.

Vertex’s “Fantasy project” with Moderna pushes CF limits

Vertex’s “Fantasy project” with Moderna pushes CF limits

Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Moderna announced in 2022 their strategic research collaboration aimed at the “discovery and development of lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) and mRNAs”. This partnership is part of Vertex’s larger project to find suitable Cystic Fibrosis (CF) treatments for all patients.  

Over 2 decades of research have gone into Vertex’s “Fantasy project”, which aims to treat the underlying causes of CF. The condition is described by Dr Fred van Goor, Vice-President of CF research, as “so complex” that treatment seems “impossible”. Not daunted by this task, he and his colleagues successfully developed medicines with the potential to treat 90% of people with CF. These medicines act by fixing a broken version of the CFTR protein.  

However, he observed that the remaining 10% of CF patients do not make this protein. Thus, a new approach is required. Through partnership with Moderna, Vertex hopes to access mRNA’s “transformational benefits”.  

Inspired by the “strength, endurance, and spirit” of the CF community Vertex and Moderna continue to pursue the research that has been ongoing for years.  

To hear from several Moderna speakers and panellists at the World Vaccine Congress in Europe 2022 click here!

2030 AIDS elimination goals for new WHO alliance

2030 AIDS elimination goals for new WHO alliance

The recent UNAIDS report revealed that only 52% of children with HIV are receiving life-saving treatment. However, 76% of adults with HIV are receiving antiretrovirals. The gap in coverage is “an outrage”, according to UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Bynanyima. She hopes to “channel that outrage into action” over the next few years.  

In August 2022 UNAIDS, UNICEF, WHO, and partners have formed a “global alliance” to provide essential treatment to every child with HIV and prevent new infections by 2030. It will be politically launched in Africa at a Ministerial meeting in October 2022.  

The Global Alliance for Ending AIDS in Children by 2030 was launched at the International AIDS Conference in Canada. It includes UN agencies, “civil society movements”, and international partners. 12 countries have joined the initial phase: Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. 

The alliance has identified “four pillars for collective action”:

  1. closing the treatment gap for pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and women living with HIV and optimising continuity of treatment; 
  2. preventing and detecting new HIV infections among pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and women; 
  3. accessible testing, optimised treatment, and comprehensive care for infants, children, and adolescents exposed to and living with HIV; and 
  4. addressing rights, gender equality, and the social and structural barriers that hinder access to services.  

Catherine Russell, the Executive Director of UNICEF, described this alliance as an “important step forward” towards an “AIDS-free future”. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO echoed this, suggesting that it will provide an “opportunity to renew our commitment to children and their families”. He intends to “unite, to speak, and to act with purpose and in solidarity”.

To learn about innovations in HIV vaccine technology from Dr Brander of AELIX Therapeutics at the World Vaccine Congress in Europe 2022 follow this link.

Continuing the Covid-19 fight with monoclonal antibodies

Continuing the Covid-19 fight with monoclonal antibodies

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues across the globe, novel variants mutate and rise against current treatments. The protection afforded by vaccination wanes after a few months, and therapies that previously worked are ineffective against more recent instalments. Thus, the search for monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against all strains continues.  

In July 2022 researchers from the National Institute of Health and Scripps Research Institute published a study in Science. They assessed the “neutralising potency” of six mAbs by introducing them to a neutralisation assay. The study concluded that COV44-62 and COV44-79 demonstrated the “broadest functional reactivity”, neutralising both betacoronaviruses and the alphacoronavirus HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-229E.  

The study notes that COV44-62 achieved neutralisation with lower concentrations, which indicates a “more effective antibody”, but that COV44-79 neutralised Omicron BA.4/5 more efficiently. Omicron continues to drive infections worldwide, so this was a significant find. Dr William Haseltine in Forbes stated that while “most monoclonal antibodies target amino acids on either the receptor-binding domain, the N-terminal domain, or a combination of the two”, the two antibodies investigated “prefer to bind in the S2 portion of the Spike, specifically the fusion peptide”.  

Dr Haseltine suggests that there is “no reason” to limit treatment to one antibody, instead favouring a “cocktail”. He predicts that this “cocktail” might be useful against current as well as future strains. Furthermore, he concludes, we must “prioritise and expedite these antibodies’ production” against the still-raging pandemic.  

To participate in discussions about the global response to Covid-19, vaccinations and therapies, get your tickets to the World Vaccine Congress in Europe 2022 here.

China’s antiviral pill: from HIV to Covid-19

China’s antiviral pill: from HIV to Covid-19

In July 2022 China’s drug regulator gave conditional approval for Azvduine, an HIV drug developed by Genuine Biotech, to be used in the treatment of Covid-19. Specific data from clinical trials were not released but the company announced that in a Phase III clinical trial around 40% of participants showed “improved clinical symptoms”.  Safety and further efficacy information remain unpublished.  

Despite this absence, experts are confident that Azvudine’s status as an approved HIV treatment enabled a fast-tracked application. They say that Azvudine will “trick the virus’ polymerase into incorporating the drug into its RNA”. This prevents viral replication.  

The need for Covid-19 therapies is growing, and until the approval of Azvudine China had only authorised one other oral antiviral: Paxlovid. This was developed by Pfizer and is highly effective. However, it is accompanied by suggestions of a “rebound” in symptoms following course completion. Despite this, it reduces the risk of hospitalisation and death by almost 89%, and was the treatment recommended by White House doctors for President Joe Biden in his recent recovery from the virus. 

Another Chinese oral antiviral (VV116) is currently in final development stages. It is “a pill version of the intravenous drug remdesivir”, which is produced by Gilead Sciences. The developers, Shanghai Junshi Biosciences, intend to apply for regulatory approval shortly. They suggest that Phase III trials demonstrated faster and more effective results when compared with Paxlovid. Again, detailed data is yet to be released and it is “unclear whether it will outperform Paxlovid”. All of these antivirals work best when administered as close to infection as possible.

With these antiviral developments we might expect to see an alleviation of China’s meticulous “zero-Covid” policy. This policy involves rigorous testing and quarantine regulations.  However, Dr Jun Wang of Rutgers University suggests that the lifting of regulations is unlikely, certainly while access to these treatments is limited. With more treatments moving along the pipeline towards approval, will we see increased availability to the Chinese public?

To participate in a discussion of Antivirals and Vaccines at the World Vaccine Congress in Europe 2022, click here.

Together against Alzheimer’s: where do we stand?

Together against Alzheimer’s: where do we stand?

Some of the most common indicators of Alzheimer’s disease include build-ups of beta-amyloid plaques, tau proteins, and neuroinflammation. These are the targets for a vaccine against Alzheimer’s progression. One of the simpler methods to vaccine development is repurposing approved therapeutics, and it is estimated that up to 39% of Alzheimer’s interventions comprise repurposed therapeutics. 

Currently the FDA has not authorised preventative vaccines but there are candidates for consideration. Several of these are in Phase II or III trials with approval anticipated over the next10 years.  As the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, Alzheimer’s isn’t going to wait for this process to be completed. 

Derek Lowe, writing in Science in 2021 stated that it was important to be cautious of suggestions that “pandemic-driven changes” were enabling further developments towards an Alzheimer’s vaccine. He explores several steps towards this end, such as the “discovery of a pseudo-beta-hairpin structure” in a region of the beta-amyloid protein and how it could be turned into a “stabilised, truncated form” in a vaccine antigen. The risk of the antibody becoming trapped in the plaques themselves, causing inflammatory toxicity in previous approaches, is reduced.

Another step he considers is a nasally administered vaccine candidate with Protollin as the active ingredient. Although initially developed as an adjuvant, Protollin demonstrated significant immunostimulatory effects in mice. Lowe reports that as anti-amyloid antibodies are not formed, “hopes that some of the side effects in the anti-amyloid-antibody world can be sidestepped”.  

In January 2022 early human trials of nasally delivered Protollin began. The hope is that in up to 5 years an application for FDA approval can be made.  With an estimated 5.8 million people in the US having the disease or related dementias, it’s more important than ever to push this forward. 

High hopes for collaborative HIV vaccine development

High hopes for collaborative HIV vaccine development

In March 2022 Dr Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, reflected that developing an effective HIV vaccine is a “daunting scientific challenge”. He identifies the obstacles: genetic variability, ability to establish lifelong infection, and human inability to clear HIV independently. However, he was optimistic that the success of the Covid-19 vaccines offers “an exciting opportunity to learn whether mRNA technology can achieve similar results against HIV infection”.

Dr Mark Feinberg, president and CEO of IAVI, believes it will. He looks forward to the “safe, effective, affordable, and durable” vaccine potential of mRNA. IAVI and Moderna partnered with each other to use this technology. Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, hopes that a “novel approach” might encourage progress. In January 2022 Phase I trials began in Washington DC. 

Another development is HTI, which Dr Christian Brander of AELIX Therapeutics discovered with his team.* They based this on the observation that T-cell responses to some HIV regions are enriched in the cases of individuals with enhanced control of their infection. The immunogen brings these regions together. The sequence design uses data from around 1,000 patients with HIV infection. The predictive power of HTI directed T-cell responses has been validated through sub-studies in earlier vaccine trials. Preclinical data demonstrated that immunisation with HTI in mice and macaques provoked a strong and broad T-cell response. As of July 2022, HTI is still in Phase II trials in Spain. 

As we explore these options, hope continues to grow for the estimated 37.7 million living with HIV. The WHO global health sector strategy intends to reduce HIV infections from 1.5 million in 2020 to 335,000 by 2030. Likewise, they predict that deaths will decrease from 680,000 in 2020 to under 240,000 in 2030. With concerted vaccine efforts, this strategy might become a reality across the globe. 

To read more about the necessity of HIV vaccine development click here.

*To hear from Dr Brander at the World Vaccine Congress in Europe 2022 follow this link.

Diabetes developments, Provention and Diamyd

Diabetes developments, Provention and Diamyd

Historic diabetes treatment focuses on treating the condition with insulin. However, recent immunotherapies move towards the potential to delay or prevent type 1 diabetes (T1D). Provention Bio, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the interception and prevention of immune-mediated disease.* In March 2022 they announced positive results in their first in-human study of PRV-101, a coxsackievirus B (CVB) vaccine that addresses all key strains associated with T1D. CSO and co-founder Dr Francisco Leon describes these results as “incredibly exciting”.

So, what are the links between CVB and diabetes, and how is a vaccine going to disrupt them? CVB is common but serious, and damages insulin-producing and gut-lining cells. It can trigger autoimmune damage to the pancreatic beta cells, sometimes leading to T1D and intestinal damage that can cause celiac disease. CVB was identified in the pancreas of around 60% of patients with T1D.

Dr Jeffrey Almond of the University of Oxford stated that the “causal link between CVB infection in childhood and the onset of T1D is compelling”.  PRV-101 is polyvalent vaccine that is specifically designed to prevent a putative infectious trigger, and data thus far suggests that it “induced high neutralising antibody titres against CVBs”, said Dr Heikki Hyoty of Tampere University.  

Diamyd Medical are also developing a type 1 vaccine to “reprogram the immune system”, according to CEO Ulf Hannelius. He describes the objective as changing the “pro-inflammatory, autoimmune reaction to GAD-65″ to an anti-inflammatory reaction. In the US the trial is on “partial clinical hold” as the FDA reported insufficient information on the drug. Hannelius stated that Diamyd would “treat the FDA’s questions with the highest priority”. On May 19th 2022 Diamyd announced that a new phase III trial was beginning across several European countries with the ambition of including around 330 participants. 

Researchers inject small amounts of the GAD-65 protein into a lymph node; the intention is for these immune cells to migrate to the pancreas and preserve, instead of attack, beta cells with GAD-65. This administration sees a “stronger immune response” than subcutaneous injections. Data are promising, revealing ameliorated glucose management compared to the placebo group. In July 2022 Diamyd announced further results from a 14-person study and will expand on these in the EASD 2022 in September. The expectation is that the Diamyd vaccine might become a therapeutic solution that would combat the immune response that leads to T1D and prevent further complications. 

As an estimated 8% of the British population currently live with type 1 diabetes these developments present an opportunity to manage or prevent the multitude of life-altering consequences that T1D brings.   

*To hear Dr Miguel Sanjuan of Provention Bio at the World Vaccine Congress Europe in October 2022 secure your tickets here.  

Does EBV hold the key for Multiple Sclerosis?

Does EBV hold the key for Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects the CNS in among 2.8 million people worldwide. The front runner among causal agents is Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a human herpesvirus. It is present in around 90% of adults by the age of 35. Early studies support the link between EBV and MS, which has been discussed for over 40 years.

Through a 20-year partnership with the United States military, Bjornevik et al. explored MS incidence. The United States screens active-duty personnel for HIV at the start of their service and biennially thereafter. This provides more than 62 million serum samples from a group of over 10 million people from 1993 to 2013. The investigation determined EBV status at initial testing, recording 5.3% of individuals EBV-negative.   

Out of 801 MS cases only one occurred in an EBV-negative individual at last sample. These data suggest that EBV is a “trigger for the development of MS”, opening new doors of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccination. The next step is to produce an effective vaccine against EBV in order to reduce the risks of MS. Luckily, Senior Researcher Gary Nabel of ModeX Therapeutics thinks this is closer than initially thought.  

So far we have found two experimental vaccines to block the two pathways that EBV uses to establish itself in the host body. These two pathways, B immune cells and epithelial cells, seem to be protected against infection in the vaccines. By genetically fusing two attachment proteins onto Ferritin, the vaccines can serve their purpose. Nabel stated that Ferritin “serves as a carrier, where we can essentially decorate the outside of the particle with the viral proteins”. When the immune system observes these proteins, it responds and registers them for future infection. The vaccines demonstrated good animal responses and clinical trials are expected to begin in the next year.  

A safe and effective vaccine is exciting, particularly in consideration of the costs of MS treatment. In the United States these can exceed $70,000 yearly. For lower income countries, access and availability is a barrier to treatment, with less than 35% of MS patients in South America able to access treatments. Financial incentives, as always, come into play, with the opportunity for global healthcare costs to be significantly reduced.  

Fighting hidden threats: vaccines against cancer? 

Fighting hidden threats: vaccines against cancer? 

Vaccines provide the immune system with information to recognise and fight threats before they appear in the body. Although we associate vaccines with infectious diseases the cancer field is growing more effective. In the1890s William Coley reported that injecting bacterial toxins could shrink tumours. Then the first cancer vaccine was developed in 1980. So how do cancer vaccines vary from the vaccines we know already? 

Unlike bacterial or viral threats, cancer cells don’t strike the immune system as a threat. This poses a challenge to the development of cancer vaccines, so what are we working with and where do we go from here?

  • Prophylactic Vaccines are taken to lower the risks of cancer from viral infections. Cancer can be caused by HPV or HBV for example, so anticipating and addressing these viruses is a way of reducing the likelihood of cancer.* So far four of these have been approved in the United States by the FDA.  

*For information on the HPV cancer vaccine from Dr Andrew Ishizuka book your tickets to the World Vaccine Congress in October 2022 here.

  • Therapeutic Vaccines respond to the active threat in the body. The goal is to reduce the tumour and create a lasting memory against tumours without adverse reactions. Each unique tumour requires sophisticated approaches. We are now able to identify targets that distinguish cancer cells from healthy cells. These can be proteins produced in excess, such as prostatic acid phosphatase, which is expressed by prostate cancer cells. In response to the identification of this excess protein, a vaccine was approved by the FDA in 2010. Another target area for is virus-derived protein, expressed by cancer cells that developed from a viral infection.  
  • Personalised Neoantigen Vaccines are being evaluated in clinical trials to establish their effectiveness alone and in combination with other treatments. Tumours display targets that result from mutations, neoantigens uniquely expressed by cancer cells. By addressing immune responses towards the tumour cells and avoiding healthy cells, side effects can be reduced. Dr Julie Bauman of the University of Arizona Cancer Centre is co-leading a clinical trial testing a personalised mRNA vaccine in combination with an immune checkpoint inhibitor. Testing is on patients with advanced head and neck cancer. The study is sponsored by Moderna, which produces each vaccine in about 6 weeks. Results were positive, resulting in the study’s expansion. However, according to recent reports, algorithms produce several possible candidates, and only a few trigger antitumour responses. There is more work to be done.   

Dr Hans Keirstead, CEO of AIVITA Biomedical, will speak at the World Vaccine Congress in Barcelona, October 2022, with an update on vaccine technology for cancer and Covid-19. To get your tickets head to this link.