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The first patient in Oxfordshire has been treated in an mRNA cancer vaccine trial at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation trust (OUH). The trial, led locally by Dr Ketan Shah, consultant clinical oncologist at OUH, marks a significant milestone in the national cancer vaccine advance.

Oxford Cancer logo

The trial, which is focussed on patients with head & neck cancer, aims to assess if the vaccine can improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy (treatments that help the immune system fight cancer). The study – which is being run across sites in Oxford, Southampton and Liverpool, and is in its second phase - is recruiting patients with HPV-16 positive advanced, metastatic, or unresectable cancers.

mRNA cancer vaccines deliver the blueprint of the cancer to the patient’s immune system, to help it recognise and destroy the disease. The vaccine being tested in the trial is manufactured by BioNTech, the company also responsible for making the Pfizer-BioNtech mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Dr Lennard Lee, senior government advisor for the national cancer vaccine advance and Academic Clinical Lecturer at the University of Oxford said “Oxfordshire continues to build on the foundations of very effective vaccine research programmes. The Oxford Cancer Centre at OUH has been very successful in bringing new opportunities for patients and is leading the charge for mRNA cancer vaccine trials. These mRNA cancer vaccines could be the silver lining of recent years, and an amazing tool for those affected by cancer.”


Read the full story on the Oxford Cancer website.