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Pancreatic Cancer: BioNTech announces initial successes with “vaccination”

Pancreatic Cancer: BioNTech announces initial successes with “vaccination”

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in Austria, along with colon, prostate, lung and breast cancer. At first, pancreatic cancer causes few symptoms. The first signs are usually general and non-specific complaints, which can also have a number of other causes. Therefore these are not often associated with pancreatic cancer. However, late diagnosis and advanced stage of the disease significantly limit treatment and contribute to an inappropriate prognosis. A new form of treatment now fuels hope: Mainz-based BioNTech, known for developing the first coronavirus vaccine approved in the European Union, has announced its success in the fight against this cancer.

Staying alive longer is a goal

Cancer patients are being treated with the newly developed vaccine BNT122. According to information from the company, this triggered an immune response after three years of treatment in eight of 16 patients whose tumors had previously been surgically removed. This was measured based on activated T cells, which essentially kill the cancer. These “killer cells” are linked to longer survival without relapse, the company said in a press release. In this way, the remaining tumor foci will be destroyed and recurrence of the disease will be prevented. This means that half of the patients treated survive for a long period of time without a new tumor developing in the pancreas.

Surgery improves chances

90% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer die within two years of diagnosis. The prognosis for those affected is not good – especially since the diagnosis is often only made at an advanced stage. Surgical removal and chemotherapy improve the chances.

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But here too the survival rate is only about 20 percent. Several methods are being investigated for this disease. Biontech vaccination is a hopeful approach. In Austria, 1,500 new cases are recorded every year, and the average age of onset of the disease ranges between 70 and 75 years. (roadblock)


Barbara Rohrhofer

Head of the Life and Health editorial team

Barbara Rohrhofer

Barbara Rohrhofer


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