Experts believe that groundbreaking new vaccines targeting a range of critical health issues, including cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders, have the potential to save millions of lives within the next seven years.

Moderna, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical firms, shares this optimistic outlook, expressing confidence that these life-saving vaccines for various illnesses will be ready by 2030, revolutionizing how we approach and manage these debilitating conditions.

Research on vaccines has demonstrated significant potential, with some experts noting that progress equivalent to 15 years has been achieved in just 12 to 18 months, spurred by the success of the Covid vaccine.

Heart disease and cancer are among the leading causes of death worldwide. Both heart disease and cancer require timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment to improve outcomes and increase the chances of survival.

Dr. Paul Burton, Chief Medical Officer of pharmaceutical company Moderna, expressed optimism that the firm could soon provide vaccines against cancer and heart disease diseases, which could potentially save hundreds of thousands or even millions of lives by 2030.


‘We will have that vaccine and it will be highly effective, and it will save hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives.


‘I think we will be able to offer personalized cancer vaccines against multiple different tumor types to people around the world.’

He added:

‘I think what we have learned in recent months is that if you ever thought that mRNA was just for infectious diseases, or just for Covid, the evidence now is that that’s absolutely not the case.


‘It can be applied to all sorts of disease areas; We are in cancer, infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, rare diseases.


‘We have studies in all of those areas and they have all shown tremendous promise.’

What advancements have been made?

In December 2022, Moderna and Merck (MSD outside the US and Canada) released the findings from their early phase (2b) clinical trial. The trial explored a combination therapy consisting of an mRNA vaccine and immunotherapy (a drug that triggers an immune response) for patients with advanced stage melanoma.

The treatment, administered to 157 patients over a year, resulted in a 44% reduction in cancer recurrence or death risk.

Moderna and Merck now aim to conduct a phase 3 trial for advanced melanoma in 2023, which will assess safety and efficacy in a larger patient group.


How do mRNA vaccines work?

mRNA vaccines work by using a small piece of genetic material called messenger RNA (mRNA) to instruct cells in the body to produce a harmless piece of the target virus or bacteria. This harmless piece, often a protein or a part of a protein, triggers an immune response in the body.

When the mRNA is introduced into the body through the vaccine, it is taken up by cells, which then use the genetic instructions to synthesize the target protein. The protein is then displayed on the surface of the cells, and the immune system recognizes it as foreign.

This recognition activates the immune system, leading to the production of antibodies and the activation of immune cells, such as T-cells, that can target and eliminate the foreign protein. The immune system also “remembers” this protein, so if the person is exposed to the actual virus or bacteria in the future, the immune system is primed to quickly respond, recognize, and eliminate the pathogen before it can cause illness.

Researchers assert that these genetic instructions can be modified to prompt cells to produce antigens found on cancer cell surfaces, which would then alert the immune system to the presence of cancer cells and initiate an attack.

To vaccinate an individual against cancer, doctors would first obtain a biopsy from the person’s tumor. Next, they would identify the antigen present on the cancer cells and encode the mRNA vaccine to stimulate cells to produce the same antigen. Upon administering the vaccine to the patient, their cells would create the antigen, eliciting an immune response against it.

Consequently, immune cells would be trained to eliminate any remaining cancer cells in the body and to actively seek out and destroy any cancer cells that reappear.