BioNTech Founders Tout Possible Cancer Vaccines
(ReliableNews.org) – Ever since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, vaccines have been at the forefront of people’s minds all around the world. The wondrous science that goes into creating such inoculations eradicated some diseases and made others so rare many humans don’t give them a second thought. With the COVID-19 vaccine, scientists from Pfizer and Moderna enhanced mRNA technology to combat the virus in a different way than ever before. Experts at BioNTech are now looking at the same advancement to fight or prevent other diseases that have been plaguing humanity for thousands of years — namely cancer.
The husband and wife team who founded the German company Biopharmaceutical New Technologies (BioNTech) believe they might be able to “repurpose” the mRNA developments to target cancer. The pair, Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci think they could bring vaccines to the market “before 2030” to help end the disease.
Messenger RNA’s (mRNA) job is to transmit protein information from the organism’s DNA inside a cell’s center outward to a place that reads the sequence to build proteins for use in the human body. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines use this process by injecting fake messengers with an appropriate “viral spike protein” to force the body to make proteins that will trigger the system to create antibodies for the coronavirus.
The BioNTech professors believe they can create instructions for the body to make the immune system attack and destroy cancer cells using the same idea. The biopharmaceutical company was already working on the idea of using mRNA before the pandemic, only halting its work to assist with the COVID-19 vaccines. In fact, they’ve been working on the idea for two decades.
The Work Going Forward
BioNTech plans to start making treatments for melanoma, bowel cancer, and other types as well. Although the idea seems solid, the technology doesn’t come without its hurdles. Scientists have to figure out how to have the vaccines focus on only the cancer cells, leaving healthy tissue alone. Cancerous tumors can include a multitude of proteins, so choosing only one is not necessarily going to work effectively.
Türeci doesn’t want to get the public’s hopes up, as she remains “cautious” about the breakthroughs. The couple is not ready to say they have a “cure for cancer” just yet because the experts still have work to do.
What do you think of the news? Do you believe it’s possible to eradicate cancer using mRNA technology?
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