Find out how the first lung cancer vaccine works

Find out how the first lung cancer vaccine works
Find out how the first lung cancer vaccine works

Scientists at the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom, have created the world’s first lung cancer vaccine.

With technology similar to that used for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine against covid-19, “LungVax” would help prevent the risk of cancer.

The team will receive funding for the study over the next 2 years. The funding will support laboratory research and the initial manufacturing of 3,000 doses of the vaccine.

Credits: utah778/istock

Scientists created the first vaccine against lung cancer

How will the lung cancer vaccine work?

Lung cancer cells look different from normal cells because they have “red flag” proteins called neoantigens. Neoantigens appear on the cell surface due to cancer-causing mutations in the cell’s DNA.

The LungVax vaccine will carry a strand of DNA that trains the immune system to recognize these neoantigens in abnormal lung cells.

The LungVax vaccine will then activate the immune system to kill these cells and prevent lung cancer.

Next steps

If this work is successful, the vaccine will move directly into a clinical trial.

If the subsequent initial trial shows promising results, the vaccine could then be expanded into larger trials in people at high risk of lung cancer.

This may include people aged 55 to 74 who are current or former smokers and who currently qualify for specific lung health screenings.

According to researchers, LungVax will not replace quitting smoking as the best way to reduce the risk of lung cancer.

But it could offer a viable path to preventing some of the early-stage cancers from emerging.

Risk factors for lung cancer

  • smoking (being the most significant factor);
  • exposure to secondhand smoke;
  • exposure to chemicals such as radon, asbestos and arsenic;
  • family history of lung cancer;
  • exposure to air pollution;
  • previous lung diseases, such as emphysema or pulmonary fibrosis.

The article is in Portuguese

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