The researchers who developed the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 have addressed the possibility of a cancer vaccine before the end of the decade. It could also rely on messenger RNA technology.
Soon a vaccine to treat cancer patients? The research pair behind the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 raised the possibility that such a serum could be developed “before 2030”, in an interview with the BBC.
BioNTech managers Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci explain that their work with messenger RNA (mRNA), which made it possible to develop their vaccine in the context of the pandemic, gave them clues to continue research against cancer.
“We have a number of breakthroughs and we will continue to work on them,” the pair said.
Works in the same way as the anti-Covid vaccine
Their company, launched in 2008, aims to work specifically with mRNA to develop scientific knowledge in this area and develop concrete medical applications. The impact of this technology on various types of cancer has been one of their specialties since the creation of the company.
“What we have developed for decades in the development of cancer vaccines has been the driving force behind the development of the Covid-19 vaccine, and now the Covid-19 vaccine and the experience we have gained during its development are useful for our work on cancer”, explains Özlem Türeci.
As with the Covid vaccine, the mRNA cancer vaccine project would work by sending a genetic instruction code to a cell to produce an antigen or protein. While for the virus responsible for Covid-19, SARS-CoV-2, it is the spike protein of the virus that was targeted, it would be the tumor cells that would be targeted as part of a cancer vaccine. .
“In Our Strings”
“We believe that a treatment against cancer, or at least to change the lives of cancer patients, is within our reach”, clarified the pair, who explain that they do not limit their efforts to research for the development of a point in a vaccine after the success of it against Covid-19.
However, the heads of BioNTech prefer to guard against any hasty claims, preferring to promote the uncertainty associated with the development of a still young mRNA technology on the scale of vaccine research.
“You know, scientists tend to show humility because nature and biology have so many secrets, and you only realize that when you step into this unknown territory that we’ve been exploring for three decades now,” emphasizes Ozlem Tureci .