For decades, scientists have hoped that a cancer vaccine could finally be developed. Prof. Thomas Seufferlein (58), president of the German Cancer Society, revealed in an interview with the German Bild that “the first cancer vaccine could be approved in 2022!”
Therapeutic vaccines at the threshold of a breakthrough
With the successful testing of mRNA vaccines during the coronavirus pandemic, the technology is now one step closer to being approved for cancer therapy as well.
“The data from the melanoma mRNA vaccine trials is really impressive. Given the data situation, approval could even happen next year,” – Professor Seufferlein said.
“However, these are not prophylactic vaccines, but therapeutic vaccines that cancer patients receive to combat an already existing tumor. Thanks to mRNA technology, it is even possible to develop personalized vaccines based on the individual tumor, which then effectively combat it.” – Prof. Seufferlein emphasized.
Fast application after approval
How long do patients have to wait for vaccines? Seufferlein explains that it won’t be long: “Once approved, the vaccines will certainly be used quickly in large cancer centers.”
Who is currently working on these types of vaccines? German coronavirus vaccine manufacturer Biontech is already testing a skin cancer vaccine in a phase II trial, and recently also announced research into mRNA therapies for colorectal cancer. Also, US manufacturer Moderna is currently working on four mRNA-based cancer therapies.
Bild also asked what other innovations the cancer expert expects in the coming year. Prof. Seufferlein replied that “no other field is producing so many new therapeutic approaches in such a short time as cancer research. The goal of all research approaches is to develop precise therapies that are precisely tailored to the tumor.”
In addition to therapeutic vaccines, there are other promising approaches such as CART cell therapy and antibody therapy, robotic surgery, even more precise radiation and theranostics (combining therapy and diagnostics) in nuclear medicine that could revolutionize the treatment of cancer patients in the next few years.