Vaccine for Various Types of Cancer Could be Available Before 2030

According to the makers of the Pfizer/BioNtech coronavirus vaccine, a vaccine for various types of cancer could be available before the year 2030.

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Professors Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci, co-founders of the German firm BioNTech, have spent years studying innovative messenger RNA [mRNA] technology that they believe may one day be used to treat various cancers.

Sahin is optimistic that a cancer vaccine might be readily available “before 2030,” according to the BBC. Many trials for the vaccine are already underway. This is even long before the coronavirus pandemic and has already shown signs of success.

During the coronavirus pandemic, BioNTech, which was founded in 2008, teamed up with US pharmaceutical behemoth Pfizer to use its mRNA technology to develop an mRNA vaccine for the virus in a matter of months. mRNA vaccines instruct human cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response.

Professors Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci, co-founders of the German firm BioNTech
Professors Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci, co-founders of the German firm BioNTech

A Vaccine for various Types of Cancer

Sahin and Tureci believe that the proven success of the mRNA vaccines against the coronavirus can be effective in treating cancers, such as melanoma, bowel cancer and others

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“What we have developed over decades for cancer vaccine development has been the tailwind for developing the coronavirus vaccine, and now the coronavirus vaccine and our experience in developing it give back to our cancer work,” Tureci said.

“mRNA acts as a blueprint, allowing you to teach the body to produce the drug or vaccine… When used as a vaccine, mRNA serves as a blueprint for the enemy’s ‘wanted poster,’ in this case, cancer antigens that distinguish cancer cells from normal cells.”

It may be years before the vaccine can be touted as a “cure.” However, researchers are learning more about how to combat cancer with each trial.

“Every step, every patient we treat in our cancer trials helps us learn more about what we’re up against and how to combat it,” Tureci said.

Related: Breakthrough development: nanotechnology – a new laser for cancer

Projected Cancer Cases and Deaths

Cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease. In 2022, the United States is projected to see 1.9 million new cancer cases and 609,360 cancer deaths, for a total of 1,670 deaths per day.

These statistics exclude basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers because cancer registries in the United States are not required to collect information on these cancers.

According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer-related direct medical costs in the United States will rise to $246 billion by 2030, though this figure is likely to be underestimated due to rising treatment costs.

Related: Tired of chemotherapy? New alternative treatments for cancer emerge

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