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mRNA Vaccine Technology could help fight cancer and other diseases

One of the good news stories of the Covid 19 pandemic was the rapid development of new vaccines to help control the virus. The speed with which they were able to use mRNA technology to get vaccines out to the general population was unheard of before.

mRNA technology was already in development as immunotherapy treatments for cancer and other illnesses. But the pandemic fast tracked research into mRNA vaccines and now the research is showing promising results in the fight against cancer.

Now a pivotal mRNA cancer vaccine trial is complete.

The trial, run by Moderna and MSD, used the same technology as Covid jabs to prime the immune system to seek and destroy cancerous cells. Initial findings suggest the investigational mRNA vaccine, known as mRNA-4157/V940, was successful in reducing the risk of death or cancer recurrence in 157 patients receiving Keytruda for advanced melanoma. 

The results showed that when the vaccine was combined with Merck’s immunotherapy drug, Keytruda, the rate of melanoma recurrence decreased by 44%. In addition to this, Moderna and Merck have an expanded agreement that includes a KRAS-directed cancer vaccine, mRNA-5671, which is currently in phase 1 testing.

Although more trials are needed to confirm the efficacy of the treatment, initial results are grounds for optimism that this powerful technology could open up a new therapeutic avenue for cancer patients in the future. 

This is Moderna’s second collaboration with Merck this year as they are currently working on flu and RSV vaccines in the later stages of clinical trials.

The technology could help treat otherwise untreatable diseases and reduce the impact of the seasonal flu and other virus infections.

Read more on BBC News

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