New Vaccine against Arthritis

Researchers at The University of Toledo have developed an experimental vaccine that shows significant promise in preventing rheumatoid arthritis, a painful autoimmune disease that cannot currently be cured. The findings, detailed in a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, represent a major breakthrough in the study of rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases in general.
One of the most common autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and breaks down healthy tissue — most notably the lining of joints in the hands, wrists, ankles and knees. Some estimates suggest rheumatoid arthritis affects as much as 1% of the global population.

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Breast Cancer Vaccine to Boost Anti-Tumor Immunity

An experimental vaccine against breast cancer safely generated a strong immune response to a key tumor protein, researchers from the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine in Seattle report in a paper published by the journal JAMA Oncology. The findings suggest the vaccine may be able to treat different types of breast cancer.

Because this was not a randomized clinical trial, the results should be considered preliminary, but the findings are promising enough that the vaccine will now be evaluated in a larger, randomized clinical trial,” said lead author Dr. Mary “Nora” L. Disis, a UW professor of medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, and director of the Cancer Vaccine Institute.

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Cancer Vaccine Available Before 2030

Vaccines that target cancer could be available before the end of the decade, according to the husband and wife team behind one of the most successful Covid vaccines of the pandemic. Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci, who co-founded BioNTech, the German firm that partnered with Pfizer to manufacture a revolutionary mRNA Covid vaccine, said they had made breakthroughs that fuelled their optimism for cancer vaccines in the coming years. Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Prof Türeci described how the mRNA technology at the heart of BioNTech’s Covid vaccine could be repurposed so that it primed the immune system to attack cancer cells instead of invading coronaviruses.

Asked when cancer vaccines based on mRNA might be ready to use in patients, Prof Sahin said they could be available “before 2030”.

An mRNA Covid vaccine works by ferrying the genetic instructions for harmless spike proteins on the Covid virus into the body. The instructions are taken up by cells which churn out the spike protein. These proteins, or antigens, are then used as “wanted posters” – telling the immune system’s antibodies and other defences what to search for and attack. The same approach can be taken to prime the immune system to seek out and destroy cancer cells, said Türeci, BioNTech’s chief medical officer. Rather than carrying code that identifies viruses, the vaccine contains genetic instructions for cancer antigensproteins that stud the surfaces of tumour cells.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/

Sanofi Covid Vaccine Shows 100% Efficacy Against Severe Disease

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the pharma giants that stumbled in the race to develop a Covid-19 shot, found their vaccine protects against severe disease and hospitalization and will submit data to regulators for clearance. The duo said data from a trial shows that two doses of the Sanofi-GSK vaccine have 100% efficacy against severe Covid-19 and hospitalizations and 58% efficacy against any symptomatic Covid-19 disease. They said the safety of the vaccine was favorable too.

Meanwhile, a separate study showed it could increase neutralizing antibody levels 18- to 30-fold when used as a booster in people who’ve received other types of shots first. Shares in Sanofi rose as much as 1.7% in Paris on Wednesday, while GSK rose as much as 1.6% in London.

The data should allow the vaccine giants to finally play a big role in the pandemic fight, after repeated development delays allowed nimbler competitors like Moderna Inc. and the BioNTech SEPfizer Inc. alliance to rush ahead with messenger-RNA products. Those companies, along with AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson, steered highly effective products rapidly to market, helping save millions of lives and earning tens of billions of dollars in revenue.

While the Sanofi-Glaxo product appears to be on par with the mRNA shots when it comes to preventing severe disease and hospitalization, the efficacy may trail somewhat in terms of symptomatic disease, Sam Fazeli, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said in a note.

The vaccine will find a place among people reticent to take mRNA vaccines and in lower-income countries, making for a modest commercial impact on Sanofi and Glaxo,” Fazeli said.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/

New Vaccine to Ward off Cancer Permanently

A Merseyside man has become the first in the UK to receive a ‘vaccine’ that is hoped will stop his recurring head and neck cancer from returning, in a clinical research trial which may help bring further ground-breaking treatments for the disease. The clinical research team at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre has given patient Graham Booth an injection of a therapy tailor-made to his personal DNA and designed to help his own immune system ward off cancer permanently.

Graham first had head and neck cancer in 2011 and it then returned four times, each time meaning he needed gruelling treatment, including facial surgery, reconstruction and radiotherapy. He is now hoping this new treatment – part of the Transgene clinical research study – will mean it does not come back. Dad-of-five Graham, 54, will have a year-long course of immunotherapy injections in a bid to keep him cancer-free, part of a research project designed to reduce deaths and recurrence in head and neck cancers, including of the throat, neck, mouth and tongue. Graham, of West Kirkby, said he was not worried about being the first person in the UK to receive this pioneering treatment and that it “opened new doorways” which gave him hope that the cancer would not come back.

When I had my first cancer treatment in 2011, I was under the impression that the cancer would not return. My biggest fear was realised in 2016 when it came back and then in 2019 and then two cases in 2021,” explains Graham. “Last year I had the feeling of the cancer progressing and there were not a lot of options left. This clinical trial has opened new doorways and gives me a bit of hope that my cancer won’t come back.”

And this could open doorways for other people. I’m hopefully looking at a brighter future. A bit of hope that it never returns again – which would mean the world to my family and everyone around me.”

Source: https://www.cityam.com/

Pfizer-BioNTech begin Omicron vaccine trial

Pfizer and BioNTech have begun enrollment for a clinical trial to test the safety and immune response of their Omicron-specific Covid-19 vaccine in adults aged up to 55, the companies announced in a statement. The pharmaceutical giant could be ready to file for regulatory approval of the shot by March.

The company’s head of vaccine research Kathrin Jansen underscored that current data showed that boosters against the original Covid strain continued to protect against severe outcomes with Omicron. Still she recognizes the need to be prepared in the event this protection wanes over time and to potentially help address Omicron and new variants in the future.”

This study is part of our science-based approach to develop a variant-based vaccine that achieves a similar level of protection against Omicron as it did with earlier variants but longer duration of protection.”

The trial will involve 1,420 people aged 18-55. It did not include people older than 55 because the goal of the study was to examine the immune response of participants dosed, rather than estimate vaccine efficacy. The trial is taking place across the United States and South Africa, and the first participant was dosed in North Carolina. The volunteers are split into three groups. The first involves people who previously received two doses of the current Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine 90-180 days prior to enrollment, and will receive one or two doses of the Omicron vaccine. The second will be people who got three doses of the current vaccine 90-180 days prior to the study and will receive either another dose of the original shot or an Omicron-specific vaccine. The third and final group are people who have never previously received a Covid vaccine, and will receive three doses of the Omicron-specific vaccine.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was the first Covid shot to be authorized in the West, in December 2020.

Source: https://www.france24.com/

HIV Vaccine Uses mRNA technology

An experimental HIV vaccine that uses the same technology as the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer is showing promising results in both monkeys and mice. A press release from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) explained that monkeys who received a multiple doses of the experimental vaccine had their chances of contracting an HIV-like virus lowered by 79%.

Scientists have spent decades struggling to create an HIV vaccine due to the speed at which the virus mutates and its remarkable ability to evade the immune system. Dr. Anthony Fauci, president of NIAID, leader of the United States’ battle against COVID-19, and a co-author of this HIV vaccine study published in Nature Medicine, expressed optimism about the progress made by the mRNA technology.

Despite nearly four decades of effort by the global research community, an effective vaccine to prevent HIV remains an elusive goal,” Fauci said. “This experimental mRNA vaccine combines several features that may overcome shortcomings of other experimental HIV vaccines and thus represents a promising approach.”

The trial involved a series of booster shots in macaques over the course of an entire year. The authors explained that not only did the trial yield a positive immune response, but also that “the vaccine was well tolerated with only mild adverse events after each inoculation,” with the most common side effect being loss of appetite.

Now the researchers are working on refining the process so less rounds of shots are needed, as they noted in Nature Medicine that “a vaccination regimen encompassing seven or more sequential immunizations would be difficult to implement in humans.” The study’s leader Dr. Paolo Lusso, said that if the team is successful at reducing the number of boosters in a safe and effective way, they will then move on to a phase 1 trial of the vaccine in adult humans.

Source: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/

Boris Johnson: UK faces ‘tidal wave’ of omicron cases

Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Sunday that Britain faces a “tidal wave” of infections from the omicron coronavirus variant, and announced a huge increase in booster vaccinations to strengthen defenses against it. In a televised statement, Johnson said everyone age 18 and older will be offered a third shot of vaccine by the end of this month in response to the omicronemergency.” The previous target was the end of January.

He said cases of the highly transmissible variant are doubling every two to three days in Britain, and “there is a tidal wave of omicron coming.”

And I’m afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need,” Johnson said. “But the good news is that our scientists are confident that with a third dose – a booster dose – we can all bring our level of protection back up.”

He announced a “national mission” to deliver booster vaccines, with pop-up vaccination centers and seven-day-a-week getting extra support from teams of military planners and thousands of volunteer vaccinators. Johnson’s Dec. 31 target applies to England. The other parts of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — are also expected to speed up their vaccination campaigns.

The U.K. Health Security Agency says existing vaccines appear less effective in preventing symptomatic infections in people exposed to omicron, though preliminary data show that effectiveness appears to rise to between 70% and 75% after a third vaccine dose.

Source: https://www.startribune.com/

Moderna says an omicron variant vaccine could be ready in early 2022

Modernas Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton said Sunday the vaccine maker could roll out a reformulated vaccine against the omicron coronavirus variant early next year. It’s not clear whether new formulations will be needed, or if current Covid vaccinations will provide protection against the new varianthat has begun to spread around the globe.

We should know about the ability of the current vaccine to provide protection in the next couple of weeks, but the remarkable thing about the MRNA vaccines, Moderna platform is that we can move very fast,” Burton said on BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show.”

The emergence of a new COVID-19 variant sparked a big rally in shares of Moderna on Monday as the company announced plans to combat the virus with more vaccines. Moderna jumped as much as 10% on Monday, extending its two-day rally to more than 30% amid budding fears of the Omicron variant.

https://www.cnbc.com/

Nasal Vaccine to prevent Alzheimer’s

Brigham and Women’s Hospital will test the safety and efficacy of a nasal vaccine aimed at preventing and slowing Alzheimer’s disease, the Boston hospital announced Tuesday. The start of the small, Phase I clinical trial comes after nearly 20 years of research led by Howard L. Weiner, MD, co-director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at the hospital.

The trial will include 16 participants between the ages of 60 and 85, all with early symptomatic Alzheimer’s but otherwise generally healthy. They will receive two doses of the vaccine one week apart, the hospital said in a press release. The participants will enroll from the Ann Romney Center.

A Phase I clinical trial is designed to establish the safety and dosage for a potential new medication. If it goes well, a much larger trial would be needed to test its effectiveness. The vaccine uses a substance called Protollin, which stimulates the immune system. “Protollin is designed to activate white blood cells found in the lymph nodes on the sides and back of the neck to migrate to the brain and trigger clearance of beta amyloid plaques — one of the hallmarks of AD [Alzheimer’s disease],” the hospital explains. It notes that Protollin has been found to be safe in other vaccines.

The launch of the first human trial of a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s is a remarkable milestone,” said Weiner in the hospital’s press release. “Over the last two decades, we’ve amassed preclinical evidence suggesting the potential of this nasal vaccine for AD. If clinical trials in humans show that the vaccine is safe and effective, this could represent a nontoxic treatment for people with Alzheimer’s, and it could also be given early to help prevent Alzheimer’s in people at risk.”

The researchers say they aim to “determine the safety and tolerability of the nasal vaccine” in the trial and observe how Protollin affects participants’ immune response, including how it affects their white blood cells.

The immune system plays a very important role in all neurologic diseases,” Weiner added. “And it’s exciting that after 20 years of preclinical work, we can finally take a key step forward toward clinical translation and conduct this landmark first human trial.”

Source: brighamandwomens.org
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