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HUG RNA Vaccine

HUG to test a promising messenger RNA vaccine against melanoma

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A messenger RNA vaccine developed by Moderna, which has recently been shown to be effective against certain cases of melanoma, will soon be tested in Geneva. The HUG hopes to start the clinical trial in the summer or autumn of 2023.



“The University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) are one of the centres – probably along with three other sites in German-speaking Switzerland – that will take part in a phase 3 trial organised worldwide”, Professor Olivier Michielin, head of the oncology department, told Le Temps newspaper on Wednesday. The aim is to be able to offer the combination of mRNA vaccine and immunotherapy to patients with a high risk of recurrence.


The oncologist was speaking at the end of the world’s largest annual cancer congress, organised in early June in Chicago by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, at which the latest findings on the messenger RNA vaccine were presented. These showed a very significant reduction in recurrences in people with skin cancer treated with the vaccine, when taken in combination with the anti-cancer drug Keytruda developed by Merck.


Prof. Olivier Michielin described the results as “extremely impressive”. The risk of metastatic recurrence in organs other than the skin is reduced by 65% compared with immunotherapy alone, which already reduced this risk by around 40%, he explains.


A revolutionary technology

“We never thought we’d see figures like these. The excitement at the conference was palpable”, comments the specialist. He points out that mRNA technology has revolutionised the field of cancer vaccinology, making it possible for the first time to target numerous specific mutations unique to each individual.

As the toxicity of this type of vaccine is very low, its use in transplant patients, for whom immunotherapy is often not proposed because of the risk of graft rejection, could also be envisaged, adds Olivier Michielin.


Source: Le Temps, ATS, RTS