BioNTech provides hope with cancer vaccine

Biontech became famous for its vaccines against the coronavirus. The company's first anti-cancer drug is expected to be sold in 2026.

Everyone is now familiar with mRNA technology. Thanks to vaccinations against coronavirus. But from the start, it was a promising approach, especially for cancer treatment. Now the pharmaceutical company Biontech announces exactly that. its first cancer drug is slated to hit the market in 2026. So this is the coveted cancer vaccine. And what exactly can we count on?

Augsburg oncologist talks about 'giant step' of Biontech drug

Yes, it's a really positive innovation, “a giant step in cancer treatment,” confirms Professor Martin Trepel. The experienced oncologist is the director of the interdisciplinary cancer center of the University Hospital of Augsburg. Because what has long been anticipated seems to be at least within reach; “a cancer vaccine is coming.”

A therapeutic vaccine, that is, a vaccine that can help people who are seriously ill. Preventive vaccinations against cancer already exist. This is mentioned here only in passing. It's the human papilloma virus, or HPV for short, vaccine that's especially important for young people and is designed to protect against cervical cancer, among other things. And it is against hepatitis B viruses, a preventive measure against liver tumors.

Immune cells are specially trained and cancer cells are better recognized

But now, starting in 2026, the vaccine will likely be available intravenously, Treppel explains, allowing the body's cancer cells to be better recognized, attacked, shrunk and, at best, completely eliminated. This works with mRNA technology because it can literally train immune cells to specifically target cancer cells. As is well known, cancer cells are particularly nasty cell types against which immune cells are often powerless because they cleverly hide themselves. This is the only way they can carry out their destructive work. But now they should essentially be stopped. As a result of this development, Trepel expects more effective therapies for, for example, black skin cancers, as well as breast, prostate and colon cancers.

Very personalized therapy

In addition, a highly personalized vaccine that is even more focused on fighting an individual patient's cancerous tissue is also being worked on. Trepel suggests that pancreatic cancer patients would particularly benefit from this.

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