Messenger RNA (mRNA), the naturally occurring molecule honed over thousands of years of evolution to translate accurately and efficiently the information encoded in a cell's DNA into the proteins essential for maintaining cell function and ensuring an organismâ€™s survival, will revolutionise the biopharmaceutical industry.
Over the years, influenza has taken the lives of millions. While vaccines are helping to reduce the damage caused by the virus, there is still a major capacity shortfall. Could access to US and European expertise and quality training improve capacity and prevent the next pandemic?
The excitement over the past 30 years for immunotherapy of cancer and other diseases has not led to the expected clinical successes. Over-enthusiasts predicted a cure for cancer with the initial development of monoclonal antibody technology, and later the ‘magic bullets’ or toxin-labelled antibodies. Identification of proteins restricted to, or at least overexpressed in tumours has also led to disappointing clinical results. The main barriers have been a lack of immunological understanding of the processes at work, eg immune tolerance. Advances in our understanding of how to induce strong immune responses and how to manipulate the immune system to avoid immunological tolerance have opened the way for emerging therapeutic vaccinations in the treatment of not only cancer, but other diseases as well. This review will focus on immunotherapy for cancer and chronic human diseases characterised by the altered expression of self-proteins.
Vaccination has been used effectively for more than 200 years to protect individuals from a range of infectious diseases such as polio and smallpox. Many academic and commercial groups are now looking beyond prevention to the therapeutic use of this approach. New insights into the role of the immune system in areas of great unmet medical need such as cancer and chronic infectious diseases are enabling the development of a rational approach to designing novel antigen-specific immunotherapies, therapeutic vaccines, which use the body’s own defence system. Far from being a stale approach, technological advances continue to drive vaccination to the forefront of drug discovery. A view supported by forecasts that the ‘vaccine’ market, including therapeutic vaccines, is predicted to grow from $6 billion in 2000 to $20 billion by 2009 (www.recap.com).This article will examine how increased knowledge of the cell-mediated immune response is making therapeutic vaccines a genuine clinical and commercial possibility.
Every year, vaccines save millions of lives by preventing major human diseases, protecting individuals and those close to them, and offering widespread public defence against disease.
Human beings have benefited from vaccines for more than two centuries. From eradicating some of the deadliest diseases to nearly eliminating a host of others, including polio, measles, mumps and tetanus – vaccines are one of the world’s greatest lifesavers.