Moderna, the US laboratory that developed one of the most effective vaccines against COVID-19, has announced that by 2030 it will have achieved a cancer vaccine that will change the pattern of mortality in developed societies. The news, which has been received with great expectation, assuring that the vaccine will cure tumors that until now had no solution.
The research and development process for the vaccine is taking place in the United States and the United Kingdom, and the data obtained so far is very promising. The vaccine will use the same technology that was used in the manufacture of the COVID-19 vaccines, with the difference that a message will be sent to the body through messenger RNA to detect the mutations that cause the reproduction of cancer cells. From there, substances that can fight the disease will be made, using the body’s immune system to fight it.
This progress in the fight against cancer would have a significant impact on society, since it is estimated that, by 2030, there will be more than 21 million people diagnosed with cancer worldwide, of which more than 330,000 will be in Spain, according to data of the Cancer Observatory. The General Director of Moderna in Spain, Juan Carlos Gil, assures that the development of this vaccine will change the pattern of mortality, since it will save hundreds of thousands and even millions of lives.
Cancer vaccine could save millions of lives
The process for the development of this vaccine is similar to that used for the development of the vaccine against COVID-19. In Moderna, they call it “the new software of life” because it knows how to send a message to the body to produce new drugs that work for us.
The first step would be to perform a biopsy of the patient’s tumor and extract the genetic material to sequence it in a laboratory and thus be able to identify mutations that are not present in healthy cells. A machine learning algorithm will then identify which of those mutations are responsible for driving cancer growth.
Over time, this system also “learns” which parts of the abnormal proteins that the mutations code for are most likely to trigger an immune response. Subsequently, messenger RNAs will be selected for the most promising antigens, which will be included in the vaccine. The serum, customized for each patient, would be administered after surgery to prevent the tumor from coming back.
Juan Carlos Gil is convinced that the new vaccine will mark a new era in the fight against cancer, since these vaccines and new medicines will be designed for each person, offering a specific and personalized drug for their tumor. According to Gil, that is one of the beauties of this drug. In short, the announcement of the arrival of the cancer vaccine is excellent news that opens new hopes in the fight against this disease and in the possibility of saving millions of lives.