• Sat. Oct 16th, 2021

Mantovani (Humanitas): “Thanks to the race against Coronavirus pushed to a vaccine for cancer”


May 8, 2021

“With the arrival of Covid-19, we have all deployed our skills, acquired through research, to stem this pandemic. The most interesting example is that of mRna vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, ed). But they have been studied for at least twenty years as a weapon against cancer. The pioneer of this research is Christoph Huber (oncologist in Mainz, Germany, ed), the ‘noble father’ of the two German researchers of Turkish origin, Ugur Sahin and his wife Ozlem Tureci, who founded BioNTech and developed the mRna anti Covid vaccine. We spoke the other day, because in Germany they have just awarded me an award. Already in January 2020 they had seen the sequence of the new coronavirus, they thought about using what they had studied against cancer and built a coronavirus vaccine. If we managed to tackle this pandemic it is because we invested in cancer research. ” This was stated by Alberto Mantovani, scientific director and president of the Humanitas Foundation, in an interview with the newspaper ‘Il Corriere della Sera’. “We need to distinguish. When we talk about vaccines, we mean two different things. One thing is ‘preventive’ vaccines, which prevent the onset of the disease, such as those against Covid. Another is ‘curative’: those that could help in the future to fight cancer. – adds Mantovani – there are two: one is that against hepatitis B, which has drastically reduced the incidence of liver tumors. The other is that against the Papilloma virus, responsible for tumors of the uterine cervix, but also of other cancers, in the throat, for example, which also affect males “.” There are at least three approaches to be evaluated, again thanks to mRna technology. The first. I identify mutations in the tumor DNA in a single patient, and I build a vaccine capable of counteracting these mutations. It is a super-personalized therapy. The second: the problem, here, is to find a lowest common denominator, that is, common mutations in various types of cancer and to build a vaccine capable of intercepting the. It is a broader approach. And it is being experienced in melanoma. – concludes Mantovani – third is the one closest to my heart. It involves combining various immunological therapies and, for these research projects, which also involve the study of metastases, we have had funding from the Airc Foundation with contributions of 5 per thousand “.