Scientists behind the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc Covid-19 shot are using the same technology to try to develop a therapeutic cancer vaccine, with promising results seen in animal studies.
Researchers from Oxford’s Jenner Institute and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research have designed a two-dose therapeutic cancer vaccine using technology involved in the Covid-19 inoculation, the scientists said in a study published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer Friday, September 3, 2021. The vaccine is set to enter human trials this year after studies in mice showed a reduction in tumor size and improved survival rate.
Vaccine research has advanced in the wake of the pandemic as scientists and governments worked faster than ever before and with greater resources to try and find vaccines that would help stem the virus. The crisis has seen technologies such as messenger RNA, never before used in a marketed product, demonstrate their success and potential for tackling other diseases such as cancer. The developments come at the same time researchers are looking at other pioneering treatments for cancer using the immune system to fight tumors.
The Oxford shot is looking to capitalize on both these developments, using the vector from the Covid-19 vaccine for one of the doses to transport genetic code that provokes the body to target two proteins present on the surface of many types of cancer cells. The vaccine technology has been shown to generate strong T cell responses, which are needed to fight tumors.
“This new vaccine platform has the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment,” said Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute.
The early-stage trial will enroll 80 patients with non-small cell lung cancer.