Cancer vaccines to be available by 2030, says BioNTechtext_fields
Vaccines that treat cancer could be available by 2030, said co-founders of BioNTechUğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci. The German firm is known to partner with Pfizer to manufacture the mRNA Covid vaccine that saved countless lives during the pandemic.
The researchers are planning to develop treatments for bowel cancer and melanoma among other types.
Speaking to BBC, Türeci said the same mRNA technology can be repurposed to prepare the immune system to attack cancer cells. The Covid vaccine works by taking genetic instructions for harmless spike protein on Covid virus into the body. The cells create the same spoke protein which attracts the attention of the immune system. The antibodies and other defences of the body will search for and attack the pathogen. The same approach can be used to seek and destroy cancer cells.
Türeci, BioNTech's chief medical officer, said the cancer vaccine will contain genetic instructions for cancer antigens instead of code to identify viruses. Cancer antigens are proteins that stud the surfaces of tumour cells. The main challenge is to tailor the vaccine to target cancer cells and stay away from healthy tissues. The firm already has several cancer vaccines in clinical trials.