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Currently, mRNA vaccines are experiencing a burst in basic research and preclinical/clinical trials. Multiple mRNA vaccine platforms against infectious diseases and several types of cancer have demonstrated encouraging results in both animal models and humans. Moreover, a number of recent reports have demonstrated the potency and versatility of mRNA to protect against infectious diseases and several types of cancer. This implies that mRNA vaccines represent a promising alternative to conventional vaccine approaches.
Unlike a normal vaccine, RNA vaccines work by introducing an mRNA sequence which is coded for a disease specific antigen. Once produced within the body, the antigen is recognised by the immune system, preparing it to fight the real thing.
Fig1. Mechanism of mRNA vaccines
The simplest type of RNA vaccine, an mRNA strand is modified, packaged and delivered to the body, where it is taken up by the body’s cells to make the antigen.
The pathogen-mRNA strand is packaged with additional RNA strands that ensure it will be copied once the vaccine is inside a cell. This means that greater quantities of the antigen are made from a smaller amount of vaccine, helping to ensure a more robust immune response.
Dendritic cells are extracted from the patient’s blood, transfected with the RNA vaccine, then given back to the patient to stimulate an immune reaction.
As mRNA is a non-infectious, non-integrating platform, there is no potential risk of infection or insertional mutagenesis. The in vivo half-life and inherent immunogenicity of the mRNA can be modulated through the use of various modifications and delivery methods, to further increase the safety profile.
Various modifications make mRNA more stable and highly translatable.
mRNA vaccines have the potential for rapid, inexpensive and scalable manufacturing because of the high yields of in vitro transcription reactions.
mRNA vaccines have elicited potent immunity against infectious disease targets in animal models and humans. For example, it’s demonstrated that a self-amplifying mRNA vaccine encoding rabies virus glycoprotein induced an immune response and provided protection in mice and could potentially be used to prevent rabies in canine. Moreover, there are now sixteen prophylactic mRNA vaccines in clinical trials, to against HIV-1, rabies virus, zika virus, influenza virus and cytomegalovirus.
Cancer vaccines are a form of immunotherapy, where the vaccine triggers the immune system into targeting the cancer. Both dendritic cell vaccines and personalised cancer vaccines, where the RNA sequence in the vaccine is designed to code for cancer-specific antigens, are being explored. Over 50 clinical trials are currently underway for RNA vaccines in number of cancers, including blood cancers, melanoma, glioblastoma (brain cancer) and prostate cancer.
IntegrateRNA is a leading provider in the field of RNA biology and focused on provide high-quality and customized products and services to accelerate your vaccines development. We have experienced experts and advanced platforms that are able to solve the problems in basic research and clinical trials. If you are interested in our services, please contact us for more details.