Personalized Vaccines May Replace Chemotherapy

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Anti-cancer vaccines. Get used to the terminology because pharma is hard at work to garner the official label. If you consider the HPV vaccine, they already market a product under such verbiage. The new case of this marketing comes from the skin cancer demographic. Researchers are now claiming that they should soon be able to replace chemotherapy with vaccines, at least in skin cancer patients.

One study, ran by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and another, ran by a German company called BioNTech, are both touting the results of testing on people with late-stage melanoma.

“Our immune system is in principle able to fight cancer by recognizing mutations in tumor cells,” Dr. Ugur Sahin, who led the research in Germany, told Digital Trends. “Cancer mutations are ideal pieces of information to specifically instruct the immune system. Mutations are generated by random genetic alterations during the development of cancer, exquisitely restricted to the cancer cells, and are not found on normal tissues. As a vaccine, we use synthetic messenger RNA that carries the information about the set of individual mutations. We studied the approach in 13 patients with late-stage melanoma. Their cancer mutations were identified by comparing the genome sequence of the tumor with normal samples obtained from the same patient. We used computerized algorithms to deal with the huge amount of data, to extract useful information and to design a unique RNA vaccine for each patient.”

They are also claiming no relapses within the 27 month timespan following the treatment.

In case you are wondering what the kicker is, well, its that the science is only testing solution for people who have cancer. In other words, you’d need to already be a cancer patient for their logic to apply. So what’s being said is that our science is competent enough to invent a vaccine to treat cancer patients, but we can’t prevent cancer in the first place. There truly is no money in the cure. What’s further interesting is that this would be “personalized vaccines.” In other words, each patient would need to have their own vaccine tailored to their skin cancer illness. You have to consider the financial ramifications of such a venture. How could anyone afford the treatment?

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