mRNA Vaccines



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mRNA Vaccines

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.

mRNA VaccinesFig1. Mechanism of mRNA vaccines

Three types of mRNA vaccines:

  • Non-replicating mRNA

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.

  • In vivo self-replicating mRNA

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.

  • In vitro dendritic cells non-replicating mRNA

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.

Benefits of mRNA vaccines over conventional vaccines:

  • Safety

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.

  • Efficacy

Various modifications make mRNA more stable and highly translatable.

  • Production

mRNA vaccines have the potential for rapid, inexpensive and scalable manufacturing because of the high yields of in vitro transcription reactions.

Application of mRNA vaccines

  • mRNA vaccines against infectious diseases

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.

  • mRNA cancer vaccines

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.


  1. Saxena S. et al. Induction of immune responses and protection in mice against rabies using a self-replicating RNA vaccine encoding rabies virus glycoprotein. Veterinary Microbiology, 2009, 136(1-2):36-44.
  2. Pardi N, et al. mRNA vaccines - a new era in vaccinology. Nat Rev Drug Discovery. 2018; 17(4): 261-279.
  3. Weiss R, et al. Generation and Evaluation of Prophylactic mRNA Vaccines Against Allergy. Methods Mol Biol. 2017; 1499: 123-139.
  4. Chahal JS, et al. Dendrimer-RNA nanoparticles generate protective immunity against lethal Ebola, H1N1 influenza, and Toxoplasma gondii challenges with a single dose. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2016; 113(29): E4133-42.
  5. Sahin U, et al. Personalized RNA mutanome vaccines mobilize poly-specific therapeutic immunity against cancer. Nature. 2017; 547(7662): 222-226.
For research use only. Not intended for any clinical use.
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