Reality check on future mRNA vaccines

Talk about scientific and technological developments in the future
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funkervogt
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Reality check on future mRNA vaccines

Post by funkervogt »

The creation of the first useful mRNA vaccine, to treat COVID-19, has unrealistically raised hopes for the technology. It certainly has potential, but the path ahead will be long.
The whole cancer vaccine idea was one of the first waves of immuno-oncology, and it is nowhere near as straightforward as coming up with a vaccine against a respiratory virus.

That's not to say it can't work - it's just going to be a longer time down a hard road before we can say that it does, though. mRNA is not magic. Using it does not address the biggest obstacle to the cancer vaccine idea, which is figuring out what to aim your neat technology at in the first place. What protein on a cancer cell should you be raising an immune response to? You need one that is going to set off a robust attack on those cells, for sure, but at the same time one that will not set off a similarly robust attack on the linings of your kidneys or the valves of your heart. This is a far, far easier problem when you have some completely non-human viral protein to aim at, as you can appreciate. And as we've seen with viral vaccine side effects (Guillain-Barré, myocarditis), the human population varies enough that in small numbers of people you're going to see misfires even when you target a virus.
https://www.science.org/content/blog-po ... its-future
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