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Promising Vaccine Reduces Risk of Melanoma Recurrence
An experimental mRNA vaccine developed by Moderna, Inc. and Merck shows significant potential to reduce the risk of recurrence or death in melanoma patients. According to clinical trial data presented at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting, treatment with the vaccine in combination with Keytruda reduced the risk of recurrence or death by 44% compared to Keytruda alone. The experimental vaccine was the result of a small randomized phase 2 study including 157 patients with high risk melanoma who had their tumor completely removed.
Each vaccine is custom-built according to the individual characteristics of a patient’s tumor, which aims to engage the immune system to recognize and attack the cancer cells. Recently used in the successful development of the COVID vaccine, mRNA technology now represents a “potential major breakthrough” in the treatment of melanoma and other cancers, says Ryan J. Sullivan, Co-Chair of the MRF Breakthrough Consortium. Results of the study need to be confirmed in phase 3. If confirmed, these data are proof of principle that vaccines can be a treatment for melanoma.
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