AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine May Work as Cancer Treatment

The research could one day revolutionize cancer treatment.
Loukia Papadopoulos

There's a lot of reasons to like the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine. It doesn't cause blood clots and its makers say it likely works against the new more contagious variant that showed up in the U.K. 

Now, new research is revealing it may also work as a treatment for cancer, according to Reuters

Researchers from Oxford’s Jenner Institute and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research have adapted the technology involved in the COVID-19 inoculation to make a cancer treatment that has thus far shown promising results in animal trials. The new treatment is a two-dose therapeutic cancer vaccine.

The researchers have said that the vaccine is ready to enter human trials this year after studies in mice found a reduction in tumor size and improved survival rate. The early-stage trial will focus on 80 participants with non-small cell lung cancer.

“This new vaccine platform has the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment,” Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute said to Reuters.

As medical professionals have rushed to develop vaccines for the coronavirus, we have seen the development of effective techniques for treating other ailments. Technologies such as messenger RNA have surfaced and even demonstrated their potential for use in dealing with other diseases including cancer.

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These developments all consist of using the immune system to fight tumors (or immunotherapy), a promising treatment for many cancers.

The Oxford shot would use the vector from the COVID-19 vaccine to transport genetic code that prompts the body to target two proteins present on the surface of many types of cancer cells. But that's not all.

Vaccine technology has also been found to produce strong T-cell responses. These T-cells consist of killer t-cells that can first find cancer cells and then be stimulated to kill them and helper T-cells that organize and orchestrate the fight against cancer.

The study was published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer Friday.

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