Recently we were able to read some headlines about the arrival cancer vaccines by 2030. So, this sounds like great news. And the truth is that it is. However, this needs to be treated with caution so that this type of heading is discouraged. The discovery they’re talking about is very promising, but it’s not really a cancer vaccine. At least not in the way that comes to mind when you hear something like that.
The first thing we think of when we hear about cancer vaccine is that it is a medicine that we could give to the entire population prevent get cancer. It’s a vaccine, after all. However, it is true that in the general case this concept is used in science to refer to something else. These are not preventive drugs, but immune system training treatment attack cancer as soon as it is detected. They already exist and have been used for some time against certain types of tumors.
What then is the difference in this case? On the one hand, technology messenger RNA, the same one used in some COVID-19 vaccines. And, on the other hand, that it can be done in a personalized way for many types of tumors. Does this mean that it can be completely cured? any cancer? Unfortunately no. But that doesn’t make it any less important.
What is messenger RNA technology?
He DNA contains all the instructions necessary for the proper functioning of the body. In its constituent genes, information such as eye color or everything necessary, for example, for the synthesis of insulin, is encoded.
However, DNA cannot be read correctly. To use this information, it must first be transcribed into another molecule called messenger RNA. This will be the one that will be read later ribosomesresponsible for the synthesis squirrels They perform all the necessary functions.
Thus, it is a very useful tool for vaccine development. The first vaccines to be synthesized throughout history consisted of injecting the infectious agent itself that you wanted to prevent, inactive or weakened. Later, other, even safer vaccines were developed, which included only one component of this infectious agent. For example, a protein that the immune system can detect, interpreting it as an infection.
But even safer and more effective is the messenger RNA option. WITH protein is not included infectious agent. What is done is to give our own cells information for them to build. Messenger RNA is introduced, which, once inside the ribosomes, tells them how to build this microbial protein. This is how the COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna work. However, it is a technology with many more applications. For example, the development of vaccines against cancer.
Cancer vaccine is a type of immunotherapy
Our immune system is responsible for more than just fighting infections. He also attacks those cells that have begun to divide uncontrollablythereby preventing their transformation into tumors. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. That’s when cancer starts, which is why there are treatments that consist precisely of lending a helping hand to the immune system so that it can attack the tumor.
There are many types and they are all known as immunotherapy. But colloquially, some of them are also known as cancer vaccines. There are many ways to stimulate the immune system to attack tumors. Now Moderna scientists have announced that they have found a messenger RNA approach.
This cancer vaccine they developed combines bioinformatics and molecular biology and consists of several steps.
To begin with, samples of both healthy cells of the patient and a biopsy taken from the tumor are taken. After, DNA of both sequenced and it is compared so that mutations that are only in the tumor can be found. In addition, thanks to the analysis of bioinformatics, it is possible to see which of these mutations They are more likely to get cancer. But not only that. It is also used artificial intelligence it is easy to determine which of these mutations promote protein synthesis recognized by the immune system.
Once a candidate mutation is found, a messenger RNA is synthesized with the information for the synthesis of these proteins. Thus, more warning signals are sent to the immune system for a specific attack on the tumor. But it is not administered to the entire healthy population like a conventional vaccine. This cancer vaccine is given only to patients who have already developed the disease. Thus, the target is people with cancer who were operated on the same. So you can prevent tumor recurrence.
Moderna scientists have announced that they hope to have this cancer vaccine by 2030 and that it will be effective against types of tumors that are still untreatable. This is definitely something promising. But this does not mean that it will cure, let alone prevent any cancer at any stage of development. First of all, it must be operable cancer.
This is a big step forward, there is no doubt about it. But we have to be careful when reporting it. Many people are looking forward to the arrival of a definitive cure. Therefore, it is important to tell them good news, but always out of caution what you need.
Source: Hiper Textual