“Highly encouraging” New mRNA Test Results for Treating Skin Cancer
by Ashley Dreiling
An experimental vaccine trial using messenger-RNA (mRNA) technology has yielded positive results for treating skin cancer.
This is another recent example of how mRNA and other personalized vaccines could potentially revolutionize cancer treatments.
Viral mRNA vaccines work by introducing a piece of mRNA that corresponds to a viral protein to the body’s immune system. It flags the protein as a foreign threat and produces antibodies to fight it. This study, however, used abnormal proteins associated with cancer instead of viral proteins.
Merk and Moderna’s Phase 2b trial included 157 patients with stage III/IV melanoma whose tumors were surgically removed before being treated. The released data shows that patients who received the vaccine alongside KEYTRUDA monotherapy treatment had a 44 percent reduction in the risk of disease recurrence or death compared to those who received KEYTRUDA alone.
Dr. Andrew Beggs, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, and Cancer Research UK Advanced Clinician Scientist at the University of Birmingham who was not involved with the trial told Science Media Centre”
“The use of the game-changing mRNA vaccine technology in increasing response to immunotherapy drugs is very exciting.
The study used a personalised cancer vaccine to increase the effectiveness of immunotherapy in metastatic skin cancer, showing that it was well tolerated and seemed to reduce the rate of recurrence of the cancer,” .
Moderna is currently talking to regulatory agencies about using their mRNA platform, which has not yet been named, to conduct Phase 3 of the trial this year.