First UK patients receive experimental mRNA therapy for cancer

Vaccine vial and syringe

The first UK patients have received an mRNA cancer therapy – mRNA-4359 – as part of a Phase I/II clinical trial investigating its potential for treating melanoma, lung cancer and other solid tumour cancers.

The Mobilize trial is run in partnership between Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, with the first patients in the UK receiving the treatment at the NIHR Imperial Clinical Research Facility at Hammersmith Hospital.

The study will assess the therapy administered alone or in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab.

Dr David Pinato, a Clinician Scientist at Imperial College London and Consultant Medical Oncologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and investigator of the UK arm of the trial, said: “This research is still in the early stages and may be a number of years from being available to patients, but this trial is laying crucial groundwork that is moving us closer towards new therapies that are potentially less toxic and more precise.”

The trial is sponsored by Moderna through the Moderna-UK Strategic Partnership. Under the 10-year partnership with the UK government, Moderna has also committed substantial investment to research and development, which includes running a large number of clinical trials in the UK.

Preclinical testing in both cell and animal models of cancer provided initial evidence that mRNA-4359 had an effect on the immune system, providing a rationale for it to be offered to patients in early-phase clinical trials.

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