A Cancer Vaccine May Be On Its Way



A combination of two treatments saw the risk of recurrence or death decreased by 44 percent in patients with stage III/IV melanoma.

On Tuesday, Moderna and Merck announced some very positive results from their trials with an investigational personalized mRNA cancer vaccine, in combination with KEYTRUDA, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, according to a press release.

A powerful combination of treatments

The combination of these two elements saw the adjuvant treatment of patients with stage III/IV melanoma following complete resection reduce the risk of recurrence or death by 44 percent.

“Today’s results are highly encouraging for the field of cancer treatment. mRNA has been transformative for COVID-19, and now, for the first time ever, we have demonstrated the potential for mRNA to have an impact on outcomes in a randomized clinical trial in melanoma,” said Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s Chief Executive Officer.

“We will begin additional studies in melanoma and other forms of cancer with the goal of bringing truly individualized cancer treatments to patients. We look forward to publishing the full data set and sharing the results at an upcoming oncology medical conference, as well as with health authorities.”

“These positive findings represent an important milestone in our collaboration with Moderna,” said Dr. Dean Y. Li, president, Merck Research Laboratories. “Over the last six years, our teams have worked closely together combining our respective expertise in mRNA and immuno-oncology with a focus on improving outcomes for patients with cancer. We look forward to advancing this program into the next phase of development.”

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“The results of this randomized Phase 2b trial are exciting for the field. These data provide the first evidence that we can improve on the rates of recurrence-free survival achieved by PD-1 blockade in resected high-risk melanoma. These findings also provide the first randomized evidence that a personalized neoantigen approach may be beneficial in melanoma,” said Jeffrey S. Weber, MD, PhD, principal investigator of the study and Deputy Director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone. Dr. Weber is a paid consultant for Merck and Moderna.

Credit: interestingengineering




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