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We were thrilled to read about the recently launched clinical trials for personalised mRNA vaccines for cancer patients. A form of immunotherapy treatment, these vaccines are tailored to each patient’s cancer and work by training the immune system to identify and destroy any cancer cells, preventing its reoccurrence.

While vaccines are usually designed to prevent disease, these cancer vaccines are being created as a form of treatment for people who have already been diagnosed. They’re called vaccines because they teach the patient’s immune system to fight their cancer, in much the same way that other vaccines teach our immune systems to protect us from viruses. The investigational vaccines employ the same mRNA technology used to develop the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

In the trial, a sample of the patient’s tumour is analysed in the lab to find all the different mutations specific to their cancer. This information is then used to create a vaccine with personalised information that tells the patient’s body what to look out for and how to eliminate it. The hope is that the vaccines will teach patients’ immune systems to find and destroy any remaining traces of cancer and reduce the risk of the cancer coming back in later years.

It’s anticipated that thousands of NHS cancer patients will be able to participate in the trials which are set to cover a range of different cancers, including bowel cancer, melanoma and lung cancer. Clinical trials such as this are crucial in advancing cancer care and prevention and ensuring patients have a range of choices when it comes to their treatment.

Coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis and going through arduous treatment is a distressing experience for patients. It can impact all aspects of a person’s life, including their physical wellbeing, mental health and their ability to work or participate in everyday tasks. At Sciensus, we believe that making patients’ experience of cancer treatment as straightforward and supportive as possible can improve their overall experience and outcomes. Key to this is offering more choice to patients, whether that’s over the form of treatment they receive or where they receive it. We look forward to hearing more about how mRNA technology can be used to open up new treatment paths and increase choice for patients.

To find out more about Sciensus, please visit our cancer market page for more information.