July 20, 2024

Scientists receive £1.7m grant to advance vaccine against lung cancer

Scientists from University College London, the University of Oxford and the Francis Crick Institute are developing a vaccine to prevent lung cancer following a grant totalling up to £1.7m from Cancer Research UK and the CRIS Cancer Foundation.

For the next two years, the team will receive funding to support lab research and the initial manufacturing of 3,000 doses of LungVax at the Oxford Clinical BioManufacturing Facility.

Affecting around 48,500 people in the UK every year, lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer and is characterised by ‘red flag’ proteins known as neoantigens, which appear on the surface of the cell due to cancer-causing mutations within the cell’s DNA.

Comprising similar technology to the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the LungVax vaccine carries a strand of DNA that trains the immune system to recognise neoantigens on abnormal lung cells and activates the immune system to eliminate them.

With the funding, researchers will evaluate the vaccine to see whether it successfully triggers an immune response.

“We think the vaccine could cover around 90% of all lung cancers, based on our computer models and previous research, and this funding will allow us to take the vital first steps towards trials in patients,” said professor Mariam Jamal-Hanjani of the UCL Cancer Institute and the Francis Crick Institute.

If successful, LungVax will move into clinical trials and, based on promising results, potentially bigger trials for people at high risk of lung cancer, including people aged 55 to 74 years who are smokers or have previously smoked and currently qualify for targeted lung health checks.

Kidani professor of immuno-oncology, University of Oxford, professor Tim Elliott, said: “This research could deliver an off-the-shelf vaccine based on Oxford’s vaccine technology, which proved itself in the COVID-19 pandemic.” If replicated, LungVax “could save the lives of tens of thousands of people every year in the UK alone”.

In March, researchers from the Science and Technologies Facilities Council’s Central Laser Facility’s Octopus Group revealed in a study that a crucial interface in a lung cancer protein could offer a potential target for cancer treatments and advance effective, long-lasting cancer therapies.

Source: https://pmlive.com/