Moderna and Pfizer’s m-RNA vaccines are delivering a specific sequence of m-RNA to our cells. The m-RNA in the vaccine includes information that directs our cells to produce protein resembling the spike proteins on the outside of the coronavirus.
This activates our immune system to produce antibodies directed at the spike proteins. When the real coronavirus shows up, we are primed to attack the virus with our high antibody levels directed at the spike proteins. And very high levels of protection are established.
Researchers have been working with m-RNA for over 30 years. That work had previously focused mainly on cancer.
Now this same m-RNA platform is being used to create personalized cancer vaccines. The m-RNA sequence that is programmed by the scientists trains the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer.
Immuno-oncology is a rapidly expanding field of innovative medicine using information to target cancer.
Every patient’s cancer is unique. The patient’s cancer has DNA with mutations or mistakes.¬†Molecular profiling of the cancer allows for the mutations to be identified.
Dr Tal Zaks at Moderna, the innovative pharmaceutical company, describes how their process takes this information about a patient’s normal genes and information from his/her mutated genes found in his/her cancer and pushes both to the cloud.
A bioinformatics algorithmic process in the cloud predicts up to 34 mutations that will help our immune system to be much more effective and launch an attack on cancer.
Moderna’s process creates a vaccine that encodes for each of these mutations and loads them onto a single mRNA molecule.
Once a cancer vaccine is injected it tells the body to express portions of the mutations so that the immune system will recognize the cancer and not attack normal cells which chemotherapy does.
Each personalized vaccine is produced on a just in time basis and usually within a few weeks.
The combination of personalized m-RNA cancer vaccines plus immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors, such as Keytruda, is a powerful way to destroy cancer cells by activating the immune system.
Summary
The team at RCM Health applauds the brilliant m-RNA scientists and clinicians at Moderna and in labs throughout the world.
And the team at RCM Health also looks forward to assisting our clients in accessing personalized cancer vaccines once approved by Health Canada.