The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Swiss doctors test groundbreaking skin cancer vaccine

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 7 June 2023
Swiss doctors say they have already witnessed ‘impressive results’ testing a skin cancer vaccine that could reduce recurrence by up to 65%.
Swiss doctors test groundbreaking skin cancer vaccine
The vaccine would be intended to prevent the recurrence of skin cancer in already existing patients.

(Keystone SDA) The Geneva University Hospital (HUG) will test an mRNA vaccine against skin cancer.

The head of the oncology department described the results so far as “extremely impressive.” He hopes to start the clinical trial sometime this summer or fall.

“The HUG – probably together with three other locations in German-speaking Switzerland – is one of the centers that will take part in a globally organized phase 3 study,” said oncology professor Olivier Michielin in an interview published on Wednesday in local newspaper Le Temps.

If the vaccine is taken together with the cancer drug Keytruda, it could enable a life free of metastases for skin cancer patients. According to Michielin, the aim is to offer this combination to patients with a high risk of recurrence.

Michielin made the comments following the world’s largest annual cancer convention in Chicago. The results of the messenger RNA vaccine from the manufacturer Moderna were presented there.

They showed – in combination with the cancer drug – a significant reduction in relapses. The risk of a recurrence of metastases in organs other than the skin is reduced by 65%. Immunotherapy alone reduces the likelihood by 40%, the oncologist said.

Swiss doctors test groundbreaking skin cancer vaccine
The vaccine will likely be administered with medication, researchers say (Keystone SDA).
Revolutionary prospects

“We absolutely didn’t expect to ever see numbers like that,” Michielin said. The excitement at the congress was palpable. mRNA technology has revolutionized the field of cancer vaccination. Because with it there is the possibility of targeting many specific mutations.

Because this type of vaccine is low in toxicity, it could also be used in transplants, Michielin said. Namely when immunotherapy is not possible.

This article was re-printed with permission from Keystone SDA.

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