“Cancer vaccine has turned from science fiction to possibility”

"Cancer vaccine has turned from science fiction to possibility"

Professor and Head of Clinical Medicine at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, Richard John Cornalland professor and researcher of the department Tim Elliott In an interview, they point to the idea that the covid-19 pandemic has left lessons that can be used, such as the idea of ​​looking for a vaccine for cancer.

“The concept of developing a vaccine against cancer has ceased to be science fiction and a possibility,” Elliott says at his meeting after signing an agreement. Collaboration with the University of Navarra researching new techniques in immunotherapy and applying them to cancer patients. It is the only active agreement in this area that a Spanish university has signed with the University of Oxford, and the latter does so because of the infrastructure Navarra has.

What does this deal bring to Oxford University?

Cornall – University of Navarra gives us something we don’t have, excellence in transferring research to the clinic. So we can build something bigger. It is an exchange between Oxford and Pamplona. We will try to find a better treatment for cancer and there will be an exchange of students between the two universities.

What do you think of Spanish scientists?

Cornall – Very good scientists and especially good at the University of Navarra in the field of immuno-ocology. If we hadn’t come first in both universities, we wouldn’t have made this deal. Also, Dr. Having someone like Ignacio Melero is a plus. The university with the greatest development in this field is Navarra.

There is a remarkable saying that was said at the signing of the contract: One out of every two people will get cancer.

Elliott – Our research tells us that one in two people will get cancer. And 50 to 60% of those who will have it will own a terminal. These are shocking data, a disease that is difficult to treat, and it is necessary to be vigilant and invest in it.

But you have to look for the positive side. One-third of cases could be cured if diagnosed early. There are opportunities and treatments that can be done for a person to live with cancer. This agreement is also in the direction of prevention, finding those who are at risk of suffering from cancer.

In the long run, time will tell, but under what conditions does cooperation between universities begin?

Elliott – There are ongoing projects. Immunotherapy changes the way we think about treating cancer. One of the challenges is understanding how our immune system can detect cancer, cancer cells, and the “targets” from which they are produced. I worked for this for 35 years. Doctor Melero and I will work on it. What we’re going to do is transfer the information we have to laboratories at the Clínica Universidad de Navarra so we can test it on patients.

How has the pandemic affected cancer research and treatment?

Cornall – There are problems with patients as late-stage cancers have been detected after the pandemic. As for research, all efforts have been made for the covid vaccine and all the rest has stalled. This year we resumed operations.

We have already cooperated with the University of Navarra during the pandemic. Since we couldn’t get these samples in the UK, they sent us covid-infected lung samples so that the samples could be analyzed, this is a good example of the beginning of our collaboration.

Could anything learned during the pandemic be applied to cancer treatment?

Elliott – Many cancer researchers started working on obtaining the covid vaccine. This increased his creative capacity. The concept of developing a cancer vaccine went from being science fiction to a possibility. It has changed our mindset and is one of the goals we have. Vaccines are different because RNAs have been studied and this is new.

But every cancer is different.

Elliott – Yes, we are discovering shared antigens in different cancers and we need to leverage that to find this vaccine. Although not an option in the short term, another option is personalized vaccination. Ideally, these vaccines will be used in healthy people who do not have cancer, but who we know are potential cancer patients.

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Written by Adem

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