Moderna Therapeutics has launched a study of a new method for treating cancer directly in humans. The essence of therapy is to teach every individual organism to recognize cancer cells as an enemy. And allow the immune system of a particular person to destroy the infection itself, or at least to facilitate the work of doctors.
The reason for the breakthrough was a sharp reduction in the price of genome sequencing services in recent years. Today it is quite real to take a patient 1 cu. mm of cancerous tissue, to study its genetic code, to develop a “weapon” of 20 target proteins and make up an antibody DNA template. Further information is transcribed into RNA, which is introduced back to the patient, and his body begins to build killers of cancer cells in the image and likeness of the agent sent.
The potential of this technique is great, scientists admit, but the practical result is not at all proved. There is a risk that the immune system will not accept the stranger, even if he came with good intentions. Or the cancer cells will start to mutate in a new, unpredictable way. Finally, the cost of such treatment – each medicine is created in a single copy strictly for a particular patient, and this is a priori not cheap.
At the first stage, 90 people will be tested, whose cancer tumors have already been removedand there is no risk of complications. The results will be known as early as 2018. Further experiments will be put on patients with active forms of cancer. It is expected that by 2030, 23.6 million new patients will appear annually, so that doctors will not lack either volunteers or those who want to buy a miracle drug.