Home » Vaccine against melanoma, the first Italian dose at Pascale – Focus Tumor news

Vaccine against melanoma, the first Italian dose at Pascale – Focus Tumor news

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Vaccine against melanoma, the first Italian dose at Pascale – Focus Tumor news

His name is Alfredo, and he is the first Italian patient who was administered the mRNA anti-cancer vaccine for the treatment of melanoma this morning at the Pascale Tumor Institute in Naples. For the Neapolitan Irccs, where Alfredo has been followed since last September by the oncologist Paolo Ascierto, a leading role in research on anti-tumor vaccines. Although, as Ascierto points out, “it will take a few years before we have the results of this last phase of the clinical study, phase III”.

Cautious optimism, also given that Italy was excluded from phase I and II trials, but also great enthusiasm. “Our hope is to be able to give a new and more effective therapeutic option to as many patients as possible. The vaccine, produced by Moderna – continues Ascierto – is based on the same technology adopted for those against Covid, that is, using synthetic mRNAs designed to ‘instruct’ the immune system to recognize specific proteins, called ‘neoantigens’, which are the expression of genetic mutations that have occurred in diseased cells”.

Its purpose is not to prevent the disease but to help and support the patients’ immune system to recognize and attack the tumor more effectively. The patient is Alfredo De Renzis, 71 years old from Carovilli, in the province of Isernia. A general practitioner, married with two children, two years ago he discovered that a melanoma was hiding behind a skin growth. After the initial treatment in Isernia he then arrives in Naples, in Paolo Ascierto’s Pascale department.

In September last year he had the appearance of inguinal lymph node metastases. Operated in November by Alfonso Amore of Corrado Caracò’s team, treatment with Pembrolizumab as part of the V904 study begins on 15 December. Almost simultaneously with the start of immunotherapy, the proposal arrives to join phase III of Moderna’s first mRNA vaccine, the last step before the vaccine can be authorized by the regulatory authorities. “I accepted immediately – says De Renzis – it seemed right to me for my role as a doctor to make a contribution to research. I was never afraid”.

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