Skin Cancer Vaccine in NHS Trials Shows Potential to Reduce Mortality, Relapse

By Madz Dizon

Jun 04, 2024 04:27 AM EDT

Skin Cancer Vaccine in NHS Trials Shows Potential to Reduce Mortality, Relapse
Syringes containing the Moderna Covid-19 vaccination for 6 month olds to 5 year olds lay on a table waiting to be used at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham, Massachusetts, on June 21, 2022.
(Photo : JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

Moderna and partner Merck & Co announced on Monday that their cancer vaccine, when used in combination with the popular cancer therapy Keytruda, has demonstrated improved survival and lasting effectiveness in a mid-stage study involving patients with a severe type of skin cancer.

Skin Cancer Vaccine Study Reveals Higher Survival Rates

According to the latest data released on Monday (June 3), the trial involving 157 patients revealed that those who received the cancer vaccine combination had an impressive overall survival rate of 96% after two and a half years, Daily Mail reported. 

In comparison, patients who only received Keytruda had a slightly lower rate of 90.2%.

In a groundbreaking study on the treatment, researchers found that melanoma patients who received a personalized jab in addition to the immunotherapy drug Keytruda had a significantly higher survival rate three years later compared to those who only took Keytruda. 

This new approach shows promising results and could potentially become the new standard of care. Experts anticipate equally promising outcomes in trials of vaccines for other types of cancers, such as breast and bowel.

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Moderna, Merck Collaboration Targets Cancer with mRNA Technology

The most recent data provides further proof of the vaccine's long-lasting effectiveness. In December, a report revealed a significant 49% decrease in the risk of recurrence or death for patients who received the vaccine combination compared to those who only received Keytruda. The study followed patients for almost three years, confirming the vaccine's durability.

According to Reuters, the collaboration between Moderna and Merck is part of a growing trend in the industry, where companies are leveraging the immune system and mRNA vaccine technology to target cancer. 

By combining powerful drugs with the mRNA vaccine, specific proteins can be produced within cells. Merck along with Moderna have been working together since 2016 and are currently conducting a late-stage study of their vaccine along with Keytruda combination.

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