How can neoantigen vaccines be the next breakthrough in cancer treatment?
The area of cancer treatment has undergone significant transformation over the last few decades due to the discovery of neoantigens, next-generation sequencing, and checkpoint inhibitors.
Oncology has witnessed the development of cancer vaccines, and the period of precision immunotherapy is experiencing a paradigm transformation.
What are neoantigens?
Neoantigens refers to the protein fragments that are present only in the cancer cells. Due to their unique character, targeting them would allow the immune systems of the patients to easily find them and attack the present cancer cell, meanwhile leaving the present healthy cell untouched.
Since the first-ever human train of neoantigens vaccines, which was performed in 2015, cancer vaccines in the world have started getting popular.
Cancer cells are highly challenging to trace because of their uncanny capabilities to constantly adapt to several environments. However, with the help of neoantigen vaccines, experts can find a better way to locate and treat such diseases.
While neoantigens vaccines are a new research area, with only a few data available, they have already started witnessing significant investments. As per the BIS Research market report, the global neoantigen cancer vaccine industry market is supposed to witness growth at a CAGR of 77.73% during 2024–2031.
Neoantigen Vaccines Resulting in Effective Personalized Medicine
Cancer is said to be a tricky disease, and the rapid increases of the abnormal cells may easily bypass different defense mechanisms and can go undetected by the human immune system.
Also, antigens are generally found in cancerous cells and normal cells, resulting in the body being more vulnerable to such attacks in the wrong body parts. This is where the use of neoantigens gets effective.
How do neoantigens work?
Some of the neoantigen vaccines are made as per the specific patient’s tumor profile. Several steps are taken for the specific creation of the vaccines as per the patient’s diseases.
Most researchers take help from the in-silico method, which uses the technique of algorithm for predicting the accurate neoantigens, which can prove to be most suitable as per the tumor profile of the patients.
Similarly, some of the experts also use the ex-vivo methods, where the cells of the tumor are experimented with and extracted to make suitable neoantigens that can have positive effects on the patients.
Different companies creating these vaccines follow different methods, but there are some common steps that each of them follows.
Following are the listed general steps that need to be followed for the creation of neoantigen vaccines:
- The first step is to take a tumor sample from the body of the patient for laboratory testing. It allows in getting detailed insights that help in the better understanding of the tumor profile.
- The next step followed by the researchers is exome sequencing of both normal and tumor cells. It helps researchers to scan the specific mutations present inside the tumor cells, like extra DNA pairs being deleted or inserted.
- The next step is to identify the specific tumor mutation in the patients that help immune systems to attract and react to T cells that can fight cancer cells. Several companies have started developing and training their algorithms for achieving higher precision degrees.
- As per the predicted neoantigens, which can be used in the patient’s immune systems to protect them from cancer cells, the specific and personalized vaccine is delivered inside the human body.
Market Insight of Neoantigen Cancer Vaccine Market
Currently, the neoantigen cancer vaccine market is witnessing huge growth mainly due to rising cancer problems, increasing personalized medicines for cancer treatment, and several other funding initiatives for development and research exercises.
However, there are several key challenges acting as obstacles to the growth of the neoantigen cancer vaccine market. Some of the challenges being faced by the market include the rising cost of personalized vaccines for cancers, hurdles in the development of clinics, and payer uncertainty and outcome-based pricing.
Future of Neoantigen Vaccines
There are several challenges with respect to neoantigens, which include the time involved in the manufacturing and formulation of these vaccines.
Since each vaccine is created as per the specific tumor profile of the patients, it takes a lot of time to extract the samples of the tumor and predict the accurate neoantigens ideal for the particular patient’s immune system and create the desired vaccine.
However, with time, the process of neoantigen vaccines is expected to get advanced, and the time required for the creation of the vaccines can also be shortened.
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