STAT+: Moderna-Merck mRNA cancer vaccine shows promise in combination with melanoma drug

New results involving a Moderna-Merck mRNA vaccine provides the strongest confirmation yet that personalized vaccines can be useful against cancer.

ORLANDO, Fla. — For years, early experimental results offered hope that scientists might be able to offer cancer vaccines tailored to an individual’s tumor as a treatment. On Sunday, a personalized mRNA cancer vaccine developed by Moderna and Merck provided the first evidence that the approach can truly offer clinical benefit to patients.

The vaccine, called a neoantigen cancer vaccine, greatly reduced a patient’s risk of relapse when combined with the Merck immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda) than when the drug was given alone.

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