mRNA-based cancer vaccines

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Published: 24 Mar 2014
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Dr Karl-Josef Kallen - Principal Scientific Fellow, CureVac Gmbh

Dr Karl-Josef Kallen talks to ecancertv at the 1st Immunotherapy of Cancer Conference ( ITOC ) in Munich.

CureVac have developed Messenger RNA vaccines through mouse models which are now being tested in Phase I and II trials.

mRNA is known as a nucleic acid molecule that encodes proteins but it is highly unstable so difficult use, however the team have found a stable method to use it.

The vaccines can enhance protein expression by around 100,000 times, increase T-Cell memory response, and are suitable for use in combination with anti-PD1 antibodies.

The vaccines activate the immune system and are relatively cheap to produce.

The team combined several antigens in one vaccine cocktail, a method designed to increase improved survival.

A phase I trial in prostate carcinoma was carried out increasing median overall survival from 16.5 (predicted by the Halabi nomogram score) to 31 months with 44 patients, and a phase IIb trial is underway with 200 patients.

Investigations are also underway in the neo-adjuvant setting and in NSCLC.