With the same technology, they are now said to have made a breakthrough in the development of a vaccine against cancer.
The couple founded the company BioNTech in 2008. From then on, the company investigated approaches to treating cancer based on mRNA technology. After the pandemic broke out, Tureci and Sahin reversed their approach to cancer research to develop a vaccine against the corona virus. But now the couple is back to cancer research – and with success.
The use of mRNA vaccinations was documented during the pandemic with the corona vaccination. This encourages Tureci and Sahin to use the technology in the fight against cancer. mRNA technology works by sending an instruction to cells in the body to make antigens, or proteins.
“The mRNA is a blueprint for the enemy’s ‘wanted poster’. In this case, it would be cancer antigens that distinguish cancer cells from normal cells,” explains Tureci in a BBC interview. An mRNA cancer vaccine aims to enable the immune system to recognize and target affected cells and then destroy them.
Vaccination likely to be available before 2030
The company BioNTech is currently going through several clinical studies for cancer research. Even before the pandemic, the company began conducting mRNA cancer studies. These showed promising results early on. “Every step, every patient that we treat in our cancer studies helps us to find out more about what we are fighting and how we are treating it,” explains Tureci in an interview with
However, it is currently unclear how successfully the cancer vaccine will work or when it will be available. “As scientists, we are always hesitant to say that we will have a cure for cancer,” Tureci said. However, BioNTech has already made some breakthroughs and the pair will continue to research them, Tureci tells the BBC. Sahin suspects that the vaccine will be available before 2030.
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Monoclonal Antibodies, Anti-Cancer Vaccines at FIHAV