Covid vaccine scientists use same technology to develop cancer jab by 2030

BioNTech founders Özlem Türeci and Ugur Sahin. CREDIT: Twitter

TWO scientists behind one of the most widely used Covid vaccines are hoping to develop a cancer jab by 2030.

Professors Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci, the German brains behind the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19, spoke today of “breakthroughs” that will hopefully allow them to roll out the new jab in as little as eight years.

The experience of developing successful mRNA technology has inspired them to continue their work developing pioneering cancer immunotherapies tailored to individual patients, reports the Salisbury Journal.

They spoke today on BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg about how the same technology used to develop Covid vaccines could help fight cancer.

The couple, who co-founded BioNTech in Mainz, Germany, in 2008, said that changing the lives of cancer patients is “in our grasp” – but fell short of saying that their work would lead to a full cure for cancer.

 

Prof Tureci told Kuenssberg: “As scientists, we are always hesitant to say we will have a cure for cancer.

“We have a number of breakthroughs and we will continue to work on them.”

He continued: “What we have developed over decades for cancer vaccine development has been the tailwind for developing the Covid-19 vaccine, and now the Covid-19 vaccine and our experience in developing it gives back to our cancer work.

“We have learned how to better, faster manufacture vaccines. We have learned in a large number of people how the immune system reacts towards mRNA.”

She went on to say that due to their work, regulators have been able to learn about mRNA vaccines and how to deal with them, adding: “This will definitely accelerate also our cancer vaccine.”

Prof Sahin confirmed that the new vaccines could be accessed by patients globally “before 2030”.

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Vickie S
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Vickie Scullard

A journalist of more than 12 years from Manchester, UK, Vickie now lives in Madrid and works as a news writer for the Euro Weekly News.

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