Pancreatic cancer is known for its low survival rates and limited treatment options. Fortunately, it is now showing signs of potential improvement with the use of messenger RNA vaccines.
RNA vaccines are known for their effectiveness against COVID-19. They have demonstrated promising results in a recent trial targeting pancreatic cancer.
In the study, half of the 16 patients who received mRNA cancer vaccines did not experience tumor recurrence after a year and a half. However, further research involving larger studies is necessary to confirm these findings.
Pancreatic cancer has alarmingly high mortality rates. It ranks as the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Surgical intervention is the primary treatment approach.
It has been shown that pancreatic cancer recurs in 90% of cases within seven to nine months. Unfortunately, chemotherapy has been ineffective in delaying recurrence.
Pancreatic cancer goes unnoticed until its advanced stages. That is when treatment becomes challenging. One reason for this elusive nature is its low production of neoantigens. These are surface proteins that trigger an immune response. Researchers observed that individuals who survived pancreatic cancer have a stronger immune response to these neoantigens.
In a recent study, researchers used mRNA technology, similar to that employed in COVID vaccines, to target patients’ tumor-specific neoantigens. The vaccines were administered to 16 patients. After tumor removal surgery, each participant received an mRNA vaccine. They also received adjuvant, which is a substance enhancing vaccine effectiveness.