A Cancer Vaccine.
Uğur and Özlem.
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1. Vaccines that target cancer could be available before the end of the decade, according to the husband and wife team behind one of the most successful Covid vaccines of the pandemic. Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci, who co-founded BioNTech, the German firm that partnered with Pfizer to manufacture a revolutionary mRNA Covid vaccine, said they had made breakthroughs that fueled their optimism for cancer vaccines in the coming years. Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Prof Türeci described how the mRNA technology at the heart of BioNTech’s Covid vaccine could be repurposed so that it primed the immune system to attack cancer cells instead of invading coronaviruses. Asked when cancer vaccines based on mRNA might be ready to use in patients, Prof Sahin said they could be available “before 2030.” (Sources: bbc.com, theguardian.com)
2. Booster shots against current SARS-CoV-2 variants can help the human immune system to fight variants that don’t exist yet. That’s the implication of two new studies, analyzing how a booster shot or breakthrough infection affects antibody-producing cells: some of these cells evolve over time to exclusively create new antibodies that target new strains, whereas others produce antibodies against both new and old strains. The findings provide reassurance that new vaccines targeting the Omicron variant will provide some benefit. The utility of these vaccines — which US regulators approved on 12 October for children as young as 5 — had been called into question by findings that the immune system has trouble pivoting from one variant to another. “All of that is really showing the brilliance of the immune system of making guesses about what variants are going to look like,” says Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California. The studies were published last month on the preprint server bioRxiv. Neither has yet been peer-reviewed. (Source: nature.com)
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