Although mRNA vaccines are somewhat controversial, scientists believe they could help millions of Americans beat cancer. That's why Moderna, a company who made one of the Covid vaccines, is currently working on another mRNA vaccine that could be extremely popular worldwide. And according to reports published by Nature Magazine, their cancer vaccine has shown preliminary signs of anti-tumor activity in people with cancer.
"What we're trying to do with the mRNA vaccine for cancer is alert the immune system to the tumor so the immune system will attack it," said John Cooke, Medical Director of the RNA Therapeutics Program in the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center in Houston, Texas.
According to the CDC, "mRNA vaccines use mRNA created in a laboratory to teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies." The same concept would apply to tumor cells. An mRNA vaccine would theoretically teach our immune system to destroy cancerous cells before they replicate and spread to other parts of the body.
"It's not a new idea: What Covid has shown us is that mRNA vaccines can be an efficacious and safe technology for millions of people," said Daniel Anderson, a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and a leader in the field of nanotherapeutics and biomaterials at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"One of the beauties of this (mRNA) technology is it can be used in people agnostic to their cancer type—it doesn't matter if it's a breast cancer or lung cancer as long as you can identify its mutations," noted Van Morris, an assistant professor of gastrointestinal medical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "One of the exciting things is the adaptability of the technology based on a given cancer and the underlying biology of that cancer."
A couple of years ago, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thankfully, doctors caught it early, and she was able to receive treatment. However, millions die from cancer every year around the world. So, if mRNA vaccines can someday be used to reduce cancerous tumors, people will be able to live longer lives and spend even more time with loved ones.
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This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered medical advice. Although mRNA vaccines are safe and effective for most people, you should still consult a doctor before making any decisions that could impact your health.