Planetary health

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“In the case of colorectal cancer, the activity of the immune system is low — cancer cells hide better,” explains Bauman. “In some cases, showing the immune system what cancer looks like isn’t enough.” T lymphocytes need to get to the cancer and eliminate it. This did not happen with patients who had colorectal cancer.
hope in sight

Meanwhile, some promising discoveries are emerging from animal studies. In a study published in a 2018 issue of the scientific journal Molecular Therapy, researchers created an mRNA vaccine to be used in conjunction with a monoclonal antibody

(a synthetic antibody made in the laboratory) to increase the anti-tumor benefits in the treatment of triple breast cancer. negative, which is notoriously aggressive, has a high rate of metastasis and a poor prognosis. It was found that mice treated with the combination therapy had a significantly better anti-tumor immune response compared to those that received either the vaccine or the monoclonal antibody alone.

And a study published in a 2019 issue of the journal ACS Nano found that when mice with lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) received the mRNA vaccine along with a checkpoint inhibitor drug, there was a significant reduction in tumor growth. , whereas 40% had complete tumor regression.

If the effectiveness of mRNA vaccines is proven, the hope of doctors and researchers is that they can be developed to treat certain types of cancer, prevent recurrences and possibly prevent some types of cancer in people genetically predisposed to them. “I think it will be one more oncologists’ strategy so that their patients have better chances,” says Cooke. “And if the effectiveness of prophylactic cancer vaccines can be proven, it could become a preventable disease.”

Meanwhile, Molly Cassidy already firmly believes in the power of mRNA vaccines to treat aggressive types of cancer. She is currently feeling great and enjoying life as a mother, at home with her 3-year-old son, her husband and her stepchildren. “My doctor doesn’t say I’m cured, but she’s very happy with my current condition,” says Cassidy. “This treatment saved my life and I am so grateful to my doctors.”

Some experts say it is possible that, within the next five years, an mRNA vaccine to treat cancer will be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “It would be a great achievement for us to be able to enhance the immune system’s capacity to precisely expel foreign invaders, such as cancer”, concludes Bauman.

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