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£1.7 million for the world’s first vaccine to prevent lung cancer

Sophie Wedekind
by Sophie Wedekind | News

22 March 2024

5 comments 5 comments

Vaccine vial bottles
Shutterstock


Researchers at the University of Oxford, the Francis Crick Institute and University College London have been granted £1.7 million of funding from Cancer Research UK and the CRIS Cancer Foundation to develop a lung cancer vaccine. 

The team are seeking to create ‘LungVax’, the world’s first vaccine to prevent lung cancer in people with a high risk of the disease.  

From COVID-19 breakthrough to lung cancer vaccine

The LungVax vaccine will use technology similar to the highly successful Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.  

In the same way traditional vaccines use part of a virus to train our bodies to fight disease, cancer vaccines use harmless proteins from the surface of cancer cells known as neoantigens.

Neoantigens appear on the surface of the cell because of cancer-causing mutations within the cell’s DNA. When they are introduced into the body they act as a ‘red flag’, which trains the immune system to recognise them on abnormal lung cells. 

This lung cancer vaccine will help activate the immune system to kill these cells and stop lung cancer.    

“Cancer is a disease of our own bodies and it’s hard for the immune system to distinguish between what’s normal and what’s cancer,” said Professor Tim Elliott, research lead for the LungVax project.  

“Getting the immune system to recognise and attack cancer is one of the biggest challenges in cancer research today. If we can replicate the kind of success seen in trials during the pandemic, we could save the lives of tens of thousands of people every year in the UK alone.” 

The scientists developing this lung cancer vaccine will first use lab tests to see if it successfully triggers an immune response. And if the results are positive, the vaccine will move straight into a clinical trial.

Projects like LungVax are a really important step forward into an exciting future, where cancer is much more preventable. We’re in a golden age of research and this is one of many projects which we hope will transform lung cancer survival.

- Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK

Expanding out

Over the next 2 years the team will receive funding to support lab research and initial manufacturing of 3,000 doses of the vaccine at the Oxford Clinical BioManufacturing Facility. 

The vaccine could then be scaled up to bigger trials for people at high risk of lung cancer, which could include people aged 55-74 who are current smokers, or have previously smoked. This is the same group that currently qualifies for targeted lung health checks in some parts of the UK.    

“Fewer than 10% of people with lung cancer survive their disease for 10 years or more. That must change,” said Professor Mariam Jamal-Hanjani of University College London and the Francis Crick Institute, who will be leading the LungVax clinical trial. 

“LungVax will not replace stopping smoking as the best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer. But it could offer a viable route to preventing some of the earliest stage cancers from emerging in the first place.”   

Researchers think the vaccine could cover around 90% of all lung cancers, and this funding will be the first step towards getting it to patients.

A CT scan of someone's lungs

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    Comments

  • Kathleen Hales
    13 May 2024

    Surely this is like immunotherapy, which teaches your own immune system to recognise cancer and attack it, your body does not recognize cancer and immunotherapy does and jump starts your own immune system to fight it.

  • Mrs M A Davis
    16 April 2024

    I think that the work you are all doing is wonderful changing lives with the continuous research and never ending researching ways to make lives change and heal is just wonderful, that is why I can never give up with the little contribution I am adding to the vastness of other people are doing, and not going to lie that I need some help my self but will keep trying to add my portion to the pot.

  • PETER MCISAAC
    30 March 2024

    There is already a preventative for lung cancer: DON’T SMOKE.

  • Maria Tkacikova
    23 March 2024

    I am Copd patient, smoked in past, this is brilliant news. X

  • Glenda Crumpton
    22 March 2024

    Good news,
    Your article doesn’t mention patients who have previously had lung cancer and are in remission, or whether this vaccine is suitable for them.
    Also what type of lung cancer, NSCLC or SCLC.

Tell us what you think

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read our comment policy.

    Comments

  • Kathleen Hales
    13 May 2024

    Surely this is like immunotherapy, which teaches your own immune system to recognise cancer and attack it, your body does not recognize cancer and immunotherapy does and jump starts your own immune system to fight it.

  • Mrs M A Davis
    16 April 2024

    I think that the work you are all doing is wonderful changing lives with the continuous research and never ending researching ways to make lives change and heal is just wonderful, that is why I can never give up with the little contribution I am adding to the vastness of other people are doing, and not going to lie that I need some help my self but will keep trying to add my portion to the pot.

  • PETER MCISAAC
    30 March 2024

    There is already a preventative for lung cancer: DON’T SMOKE.

  • Maria Tkacikova
    23 March 2024

    I am Copd patient, smoked in past, this is brilliant news. X

  • Glenda Crumpton
    22 March 2024

    Good news,
    Your article doesn’t mention patients who have previously had lung cancer and are in remission, or whether this vaccine is suitable for them.
    Also what type of lung cancer, NSCLC or SCLC.

Tell us what you think

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read our comment policy.