Covid vaccine technology ‘could hold the key to pancreatic cancer cure’

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Pancreatic cancer claims 10,000 lives in the UK each year and is the most deadly form of common cancer, with nine out of 10 patients dying within two years of diagnosis

The mRNA technology in Covid vaccines could help fight pancreatic cancer
The mRNA technology in Covid vaccines could help fight pancreatic cancer

The mRNA technology used in Covid vaccines could be key to finding a cure for pancreatic cancer, say reports.

A jab using the same mRNA theory has been designed to prevent tumours returning after surgery, reports The Times.

Half of patients who received the vaccine remained free of pancreatic cancer after 18 months.

The deadly disease claims the lives of nine out of 10 people diagnosed within two years, making it the common cancer with the worst prognosis.

The new vaccine was developed by scientists from the U.S. Working alongside staff from BioNTech, the German company that produced Pfizer’s coronavirus jab.

Pancreatic cancer kills around 10,000 people in the UK each year

Half of patients receiving the vaccine did not have their cancer return


Getty Images/Image Source)

However, the results of a trial presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology showed vaccines could train the immune system to kill cells associated with the disease.

A similar trial is currently being run for bowel cancer.

Tumours are able to spread because the immune system fails to identify cancer cells as foreign.

The jab targets pancreatic cancer cells after surgery


Getty Images/Visuals Unlimited)

The new mRNA vaccine programmes the body’s immune system to identify the proteins found on cancer cells and destroy any that remain in the blood stream following surgery.

There were 16 patients involved in the early-stage pancreatic cancer trial, with each given eight doses of the vaccine intravenously following surgery to remove a tumour.

Half of the patients receiving the vaccine remained cancer-free for the duration of the trial.

Pancreatic cancer currently kills nine out of 10 patients within two years of diagnosis


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Of the eight that didn’t, six died after the cancer returned.

Dr Vinod Balachandran from the MSK Cancer Centre in New York, the lead author of the study, said in The Times the “very exciting” results paved the way for other cancer vaccines.

Dr Chris MacDonald of Pancreatic Cancer UK hailed the “genuinely thrilling progress”, adding: “Such a vaccine would be a vital new weapon against the deadliest common cancer.”

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