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Researchers at the Nuffield Department of Medicine, the Francis Crick Institute and University College London have been granted £1.7 million of funding from Cancer Research UK and the CRIS Cancer Foundation to develop a lung cancer vaccine. The group includes Professor Tim Elliott, Kidani Professor of Immuno-oncology at NDM.

The ‘LungVax’ vaccine uses technology similar to the highly successful Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The team will receive funding for the study over the next 2 years to support lab research and initial manufacturing of 3,000 doses of the vaccine at the Oxford Clinical BioManufacturing Facility.

Lung cancer cells look different from normal cells due to having “red flag” proteins called neoantigens. Neoantigens appear on the surface of the cell because of cancer-causing mutations within the cell’s DNA.

The LungVax vaccine will carry a strand of DNA which trains the immune system to recognise these neoantigens in abnormal lung cells. The LungVax vaccine will activate the immune system to kill these cells and stop lung cancer.

In this study, the scientists are developing this vaccine in the lab to show that it successfully triggers an immune response. If this work is successful, the vaccine will move straight into a clinical trial. If the subsequent early trial delivers promising results, the vaccine could then be scaled up to bigger trials for people at high risk of lung cancer. This could include people aged 55-74 who are current smokers, or have previously smoked, and currently qualify for targeted lung health checks in some parts of the UK.

Read the full story on the NDM website