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What to expect from mRNA vaccines in 2024

1 Jan, 2024

The "central idea", i.e. the "mechanism", of all vaccines - both classical and genome vaccines (mRNA) - is to introduce a protein of the virus or bacteria into the human body in order to "train" our immune system system, its "recording" by it and the creation of antibodies which act as a shield in case of infection by the microbe (virus or bacterium) against which we want to protect ourselves. The result of vaccination is the most significant reduction in the probability of disease (that is, the fact that many people do not get sick) or the milder disease (that is, some people will get sick, but much milder).

The first publication on mRNA vaccines (long before they became the coronavirus vaccines of choice) was the 1990 in the authoritative scientific journal Science. During that period, a number of issues had to be addressed such as; organic (efficient introduction of the mRNA into the recipient cell) up to technically (maintenance of "fragile" mRNA). These issues were progressively resolved, with the result that the laboratories are now ready in 2020 to face the first global "challenge".

A few months after the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to the scientists who developed mRNA vaccines to treat Covid-19, these vaccines are also being tested to treat a range of diseases, including some forms of cancer.
Some of the attempted treatments, as mentioned by the experts below, concern the Metastatic Melanomabladder cancer, The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a condition from which more than 500.000 Greeks.

mRNA vaccines in a therapeutic role
In laboratories as well as in clinics, vaccines against many types of cancer, which are based on mRNA technology, are being tested. They do not work proactively, like our familiar vaccines, but as therapeutics for disease control.
As characteristically stated by Professor of Biology - Nanomedicine at the School of Medicine of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Maria Gazouli: "Knowing, now, what are these antigens that cancer cells present and are hidden from our immune system, we make a mRNA therapeutic vaccine, which will strengthen, help our body recognize these specific cells and go to destroy them. We already have the first such therapeutic vaccine, which will be administered in combination with immunotherapy in patients suffering from Metastatic Melanoma».
In clinical trials, mRNA vaccines are being developed for types of cancer, such as blood cancer, colon cancer, and gastric carcinoma.
"When the disease starts to reappear, our immune system will have a memory and so it will know and destroy these cells. It is a very big progress, the results of which we will see quite soon", emphasizes Ms. Gazoulis.

The new year also brings a new treatment for him bladder cancer, who offends 5.000 Greeks annually.
According to Pathologist-Oncologist, Aristoteli Bamia, Professor at the Medical School of the University of Athens: “Toward the end of 2023, we had very favorable data, especially in urothelial cancer, as well as in prostate cancer. We are talking about immunotherapy in combination with antibody and drug complexes, which in a recent study, doubled the survival of patients who had metastases from urothelial cancer."
A disease with a heavy impact on patients is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which offends 1 in 10 smokers and from which more than 500 thousand people in our country.
Ο Professor of Pulmonology and president of the Hellenic Pulmonology Society, Stelios Loukidis, states that: “In the next three years, we will have at least two new drugs for COPD, one of which will likely be a biologic agent. This is an important perspective, because in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease the aim is to reduce exacerbations and above all to reduce hospitalizations".
With the new treatments, it is expected to be achieved better quality of life for the patients, of course significant increase in survival time.  




photo fernandozhiminaicela / https://pixabay.com 

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