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UK researchers get $2.1 million to develop lung cancer vaccine

AstraZeneca’s lung cancer drug, Tagrisso, reduced the risk of death by 51% in the early stages of the disease, according to a company statement.

HQ Team

March 23, 2024: Researchers in the UK have won a grant of $2.14 million (€1.98 million) from the Cancer Research UK and the CRIS Cancer Foundation to develop a lung cancer vaccine.

Called the “LungVax”, it would be the world’s first vaccine against lung cancer and would use a similar technology to that used for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19.

The research team comprises of scientists from the University of Oxford, the Francis Crick Institute, and University College London. They will receive funding over the next two years to carry out the trials and manufacture 3,000 doses.

“Cancer is a disease of our own bodies and it’s hard for the immune system to distinguish between what’s normal and what’s cancer,” Professor Tim Elliott, research lead for the LungVax project, said in a statement.

“Getting the immune system to recognize and attack cancer is one of the biggest challenges in cancer research today.

“If we can replicate the kind of success seen in trials during the pandemic, we could save the lives of tens of thousands of people every year in the UK alone,” he added.

Cancer vaccines work by training the immune system to recognize cancer cells as abnormal.

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said the project was a “really important step forward into an exciting future, where cancer is much more preventable”.

Related research

A French biotechnology company Ose Immunotherapeutics’ has developed a vaccine that it says is effective in decreasing the risk of death for people with certain lung cancers by 41%..

The Tedopi vaccine has been shown to be effective in reducing mortality rates in certain lung cancers, the company said. Ose Immunotherapeutics’ vaccine was used in the trial as a third-line treatment, meaning that the patients had already received two other therapies.

The Tedopi vaccine is effective in patients with the HLA-A2 gene, which is present in about half the population, according to Ose Immunotherapeutics.

Early this February, the USFDA  cleared AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso with chemotherapy for treatment in adult patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

The approval came after a priority review by the US drug regulator and was based on final clinical trials.

The drug, with the chemotherapy combination, cut the risk of disease progression by 38% compared to Tagrisso alone, according to an AstraZeneca statement.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. It is often diagnosed at advanced stages when treatment options are limited.The largest risk factor for lung cancer is cigarette smoking, which is responsible for more than seven out of 10 cases, according to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

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