A PERSONALISED cancer jab that stops the disease from coming back will rolled out on the NHS within five years, a health chief has said.
The Covid-style jabs can be made to target a particular cancer’s unique genetic sequences or mutations.
This can help the body selectively destroy cancer cells while sparing healthy cells, potentially resulting in fewer side effects compared to chemotherapy.
NHS national director for cancer Prof Peter Johnson, said the vaccine is one of the most “enormous transformations” in treatment of the disease in the last decade.
The announcement comes after the Government signed an agreement with German-based company BioNTech which previously developed a coronavirus vaccine, to provide patients with the jab by 2030.
The clinical trials are intended to help treat patients through the use of personalised mRNA cancer vaccines and immunotherapies.
The technology is similar to that used in the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
A new Cancer Vaccine Launch Pad (CVLP) will create a database to help quickly identify cancer patients who could be eligible for potential trials.
Prof Peter told The Times Health Commission: “Recurrent cancer following operation remains a big issue even as we diagnose more cancers early, so we will see more people having operations to remove the primary tumour but who remain at risk of recurrence.
“And the opportunity to use vaccination to reduce the risk of recurrence in that group of people is very attractive.”
However, the use of vaccines to improve the body’s ability to spot and destroy tumours to prevent cancer in healthy patients is “still speculative”, he explained.
He said it would be more useful if we were able to pick up cancers early before they progress.
Scientists are currently trialing a cancer blood test, called the Grail test, which if successful will pick up early forms of the disease.