mRNA therapy works against cancer in mice – human study planned

BerlinAn mRNA-based immunotherapy works against cancer in mice. Researchers around Christian Hotz and Ugur Sahin from the Mainz-based company Biontech, which developed the first mRNA vaccine against corona, inject the active ingredient directly into the tumors of the mice. Again Transmitting n-tv reported, the tumor growth was then stopped. The mRNA active ingredient is now also to be tested in a clinical study. Biontech worked with the company Sanofi for the study.

The researchers tested a mixture of mRNA that mediates the production of four different cytokines – small proteins that, among other things, regulate cell growth and which are known to play a role in fighting cancer. In order to avoid difficulties, the researchers now used mRNA as building instructions for the cytokines. They injected these directly into the tumors of the mice. The cancer completely regressed in 17 out of 20 mice treated.

mRNA as a beacon of hope in medicine

“The study provides an example of how mRNA can be used as a tool,” says Niels Halama from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, who was not involved in the study. However, there are still some hurdles to overcome before it can be used in humans.

mRNA is a small molecule that serves as a kind of building instruction. With their help, the production of proteins is initiated in the body. In the corona vaccine, the mRNA carries the building instructions for a protein from the shell of the Sars-CoV-2 pathogen. The immune system recognizes the foreign protein and can produce antibodies against it. The potential of an mRNA agent to fight cancer is currently being investigated in a variety of ways.


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