Professor Ozlem Tureci and Professor Ugur Sahin, the married couple who co-founded BioNTech and led the way in developing its COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, have sat down with BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg and stated they believe a cancer vaccine using the same technology could be available in just eight years.
"Yes, we feel that a cure for cancer, or to changing cancer patients' lives, is in our grasp," said Tureci, during Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.
"We believe that this will happen, definitely, before 2030,” Sahin continued.
The vaccine would be unlikely to be universal, but instead, an individualized mRNA shot that targets the exact cancer a patient has and allows their immune system to recognize and attack it.
"The goal that we have is that can we use the individualized vaccine approach to ensure that directly after surgery, patients receive a personalized, individualized vaccine, and we induce an immune response that so the T-cells in the body of the patient can screen the body for remaining tumor cells and ideally eliminate the tumor cells," Sahin explained.
Explaining how their COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough could help in creating a cancer vaccine, Tureci added: “We have learned how to better, faster manufacture vaccines. We have learned in a large number of people how the immune system reacts towards mRNA.”
“This will definitely accelerate also our cancer vaccine.”
BioNTech have a range of mRNA-based vaccines targeting many different types of cancer in the pipeline, and have already achieved successful results in some clinical trials.
Off the back of this work, the couple seem confident that an answer for cancer could be found within the decade.