Cure is ‘in our grasp’ say the scientists behind the BioNTech Covid-19 jab
Technology honed in the battle against Covid-19 could see vaccines that target cancer readily available by 2030.
Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci co-founded BioNTech, the German company that partnered with Pfizer to manufacture an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine that would prove to be vital in the global fight to stem the pandemic. Now they say they have made further breakthroughs that could “lead to new treatments for melanoma, bowel cancer and other tumour types”, according to the BBC.
Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Şahin said that cancer vaccines based on mRNA might be ready to use in patients “before 2030”, The Guardian reported.
BioNTech has “several trials in progress”, according to the broadcaster, “including one where patients are given a personalised vaccine, to prompt their immune system to attack their disease”.
How could a cancer vaccine work?
As The Guardian explained, an mRNA Covid vaccine works “by ferrying the genetic instructions for essentially harmless spike proteins on the Covid virus into the body”.
These instructions are then “taken up by cells which churn out the spike protein”. The proteins, known as antigens, “are then used as ‘wanted posters’ – telling the immune system’s antibodies and other defences what to search for and attack”.