The Moderna laboratory has announced encouraging results from the first phases of testing a messenger RNA vaccine against melanoma in patients with advanced disease.
- “In Western countries, the frequency of melanomas has doubled every ten years for 50 years,” says the Léon Bernard Cancer Center.
- The number of deaths in 2018 is estimated at 1,975 people, 57% of whom are men.
- The therapeutic vaccine from Morderna and Merck MSD would make it possible to treat patients at an advanced stage.
After a vaccine against Sars-CoV-2, the Moderna laboratory has joined forces with the American giant Merck MSD to develop a therapeutic vaccine against cutaneous melanoma, one of the most common skin cancers.
Reduce the risk of recurrence and mortality by 44%
Serum using messenger RNA technology is not intended to prevent skin cancer but to treat it. More specifically, it would be reserved for people who already have skin cancer at an advanced stage. This would be administered after the operation to remove a melanoma, in addition to a conventional immunotherapy treatment. The results of phase 2, published mid-Decembershow that several injections reduce the risk of tumor recurrence or death by 44%, compared to people treated only with the anti-cancer drug.
So far, researchers have been able to test the vaccine on 150 people. Phase 3 is planned for next year to assess its effectiveness on a larger scale. This step can take up to three years, and if successful, the vaccine could be on the market between 2025 and 2030.
Cutaneous melanoma: an increasingly common cancer
Cutaneous melanoma represents 2 to 3% of all cancers, but it is the leading cancer in terms of increasing frequency. “In men, the number of incident cases of cutaneous melanoma increased fivefold (+371%) between 1990 and 2018”, details the Léon Bernard Cancer Center. “In women, it was multiplied by 3 (+189%) between 1990 and 2018.“The average age at diagnosis is 60 years in women and 66 years in men. However, it is a disease that can occur at any age and it is “the most common cancer in young adults between 25 and 50 years old in the western zone”.
To detect it quickly, several signs should alert:
- a mole different from the others;
- the appearance of a new brown spot on the skin (the most common case) or a mole that changes appearance quickly (in its shape, size, color or thickness).
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