The COVID-19 pandemic has elevated mRNA vaccines to global recognition due to their unprecedented success rate in protecting against a deadly virus. This international success is underscored by the remarkable versatility, favorable immunogenicity, and overall safety of the mRNA platform in diverse populations. Although mRNA vaccines have been studied in preclinical models and patients with cancer for almost three decades, development has been slow. The recent technological advances responsible for the COVID-19 vaccines have potential implications for successfully adapting this vaccine platform for cancer therapeutics. Here we discuss the lessons learned along with the chemical, biologic, and immunologic adaptations needed to optimize mRNA technology to successfully treat cancers.
Amanda L. Huff, Elizabeth M. Jaffee, Neeha Zaidi