Studies have found an mRNA vaccine that programs the body to fight pancreatic cancer shows early promise. In a small clinical trial, half of the patients who received the vaccine did not have a recurrence of the tumor a year and a half later. The trial was published in the journal Nature on May 10, 2023. The vaccine, developed by researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, is designed to teach the body’s immune system to recognize and attack pancreatic cancer cells. The vaccine is made with mRNA, which is a type of genetic material that can be used to instruct cells to make proteins. In this case, the mRNA instructs cells to make proteins that are found on the surface of pancreatic cancer cells.
Study Trial and Findings:
The vaccine was given to 16 patients who had undergone surgery to remove their pancreatic tumors. The patients were divided into two groups, and each group received three doses of the vaccine over the course of six months. After a year and a half, half of the patients who received the vaccine had not had a recurrence of their tumors. In contrast, all of the patients who received a placebo vaccine had their tumors recur. The results of the trial are promising, but they need to be replicated in a larger trial. If the vaccine is found to be effective in a larger trial, it could offer a new treatment option for patients with pancreatic cancer.
The mRNA vaccine is one of a number of new treatments that are being developed for pancreatic cancer. Other treatments include immunotherapy, which uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, and targeted therapy, which uses drugs to target specific molecules on cancer cells. With continued research, it is hoped that new treatments will be developed that will improve the survival rate for patients with pancreatic cancer.