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mRNA cancer therapy now in human trials after shrinking mouse tumours

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Post by Didgee Sun Sep 12, 2021 12:28 am

A cancer treatment that uses messenger RNA to launch an immune attack on cancer cells can completely shrink tumours in mice and is now being tested in people.

Messenger RNAs – or mRNAs – are molecules that instruct cells to make proteins. They have risen to fame with the roll out of mRNA covid-19 vaccines.

BioNTech, the German company that developed Pfizer’s mRNA covid-19 vaccine, is now testing whether mRNAs can be used to treat cancer by stimulating cells to produce tumour-fighting proteins.

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The company made a mixture of four mRNAs that instruct cells to produce four proteins called cytokines that are naturally released by immune cells to attack cancer cells.

When they injected these mRNAs directly into melanomas in 20 mice, immune cells within the tumours began producing large amounts of the desired cytokines. This produced an immune response that caused the skin tumours to completely disappear in all but one of the mice in less than 40 days.

Read more: How the next generation of mRNA vaccines could help tackle cancer
In another experiment, mice that had melanomas as well as lung tumours were treated with the mRNA mixture. The mRNAs were only injected into the melanomas, but they also suppressed the growth of the lung tumours. This may be because the immune cells activated by the mRNAs were able migrate to the distant tumours, says Timothy Wagenaar at Sanofi, a pharmaceutical company that is partnering with BioNTech to develop the treatment.

The mice didn’t display any side effects and didn’t lose weight during the treatment.

Following these promising results, BioNTech and Sanofi are now testing the safety of the mRNA mixture in 231 people with advanced melanoma, breast cancer and other solid tumours. They presented preliminary results of the first 17 patients at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer annual meeting in November 2020, showing they had no serious side effects. Future trials will test how well the therapy works.

For now, the treatment is only suitable for tumours that are near the surface of the body, since the mRNAs must be directly injected into the tumours. But in future, it may be possible to use ultrasound or other imaging techniques to guide injections into deeper tumours, says Wagenaar.



https://www.newscientist.com/article/2289334-mrna-cancer-therapy-now-in-human-trials-after-shrinking-mouse-tumours/

This is what mases me about science

How looking to prevent the spread of a virus can lead to a cure for some cancers

Didgee

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Post by Original Quill Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:15 pm

Wonderful! With science, any miraculous result might be right around the corner.

This is why, in law, I question those "Do Not Resuscitate" directives in Wills and Powers of Attorneys (preemptive healthcare decisions, including the ability to consent to giving, withholding, or stopping medical treatments, services, or diagnostic procedures).

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Post by Syl Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:42 pm

Brilliant news, and there will be a cure for cancer one day...I doubt it'll come in my lifetime, but one day.

In the meantime, I will happily have a 'do not resuscitate' note on my records if I ever get to the stage where life is either physically or mentally intolerable and I can't make my own decisions.

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Post by HoratioTarr Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:34 pm

I lost my mum to cancer. It's a terrible thing. It would be truly wonderful to find a cure.
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Post by HoratioTarr Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:36 pm

Syl wrote:Brilliant news, and there will be a cure for cancer one day...I doubt it'll come in my lifetime, but one day.

In the meantime, I will happily have a 'do not resuscitate' note on my records if I ever get to the stage where life is either physically or mentally intolerable and I can't make my own decisions.

Me too.  I'm not sure I'd have chemo.  It strips you of your dignity and is often worse than the disease in that it makes you feel so wretched.  I think one of the worst things is for your loved ones to watch you slowly waste away into a shell of what you were.  I'd rather kill myself first before it got to that.
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Post by Syl Wed Sep 15, 2021 12:17 am

HoratioTarr wrote:
Syl wrote:Brilliant news, and there will be a cure for cancer one day...I doubt it'll come in my lifetime, but one day.

In the meantime, I will happily have a 'do not resuscitate' 1note on my records if I ever get to the stage where life is either physically or mentally intolerable and I can't make my own decisions.

Me too.  I'm not sure I'd have chemo.  It strips you of your dignity and is often worse than the disease in that it makes you feel so wretched.  I think one of the worst things is for your loved ones to watch you slowly waste away into a shell of what you were.  I'd rather kill myself first before it got to that.

Hopefully one day in the near future people with terminal illness or no quality of life will be able to have controlled medical help in ending their lives legally, without the hassle of either travelling abroad, involving family, or botching the job themselves.

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