An mRNA vaccine for cancer immunotherapy

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The mRNA vaccine activated T cells and stimulated antibody production, causing tumors to shrink in the treated mice. Photo: Pexels

(American Chemical Society/ Phys Org) –– Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines to prevent COVID-19 have made headlines around the world recently, but scientists have also been working on mRNA vaccines to treat or prevent other diseases, including some forms of cancer.

Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Nano Letters have developed a hydrogel that, when injected into mice with melanoma, slowly released RNA nanovaccines that shrank tumors and kept them from metastasizing.

Cancer immunotherapy vaccines work similarly to mRNA vaccines for COVID-19, except they activate the immune system to attack tumors instead of a virus. These vaccines contain mRNA that encodes proteins made specifically by tumor cells. 

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