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MIT: mRNA vaccines are selected as 2021 top ten scientific breakthroughs
MIT: mRNA vaccines are selected as 2021 top ten scientific breakthroughs . MIT Science and Technology Review releases 2021 top ten scientific and technological breakthroughs in the world: mRNA vaccines are selected.
On February 24, 2021, the “Top Ten Global Breakthrough Technologies” selected by MIT Science and Technology Review was officially released in Hangzhou Future Science and Technology City.
The ten breakthrough technologies selected include: mRNA vaccine, GPT-3, data trust, lithium metal battery, digital contact tracking, ultra-high-precision positioning, remote technology, multi-skill AI, TikTok recommendation algorithm, and green hydrogen energy.
According to the MIT Science and Technology Review, the purpose of selecting the “Top Ten Breakthrough Technologies” is not only to showcase new innovations, but also to emphasize that it is human wisdom that promotes these innovative technologies. They are the hottest, most cutting-edge, and most valuable research fields in the field of science and technology. The results bred from them entrust humanity’s vision for a better life in the future, and they will also have a huge impact in future social life.
About mRNA vaccines
In December 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the mRNA vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and the mRNA vaccine developed by Moderna to prevent new coronavirus infections.
In fact, long before the COVID-19 pandemic, mRNA vaccines have attracted a large number of pharmaceutical companies to participate in research and development with their unique advantages. Now, the success of the mRNA vaccine against the COVID-19 will surely trigger a new “tsunami” in the field of vaccine preparation and drug research and development!
Messenger RNA (mRNA), a nucleic acid molecule that transfers the genetic code from DNA to the protein-making machinery of the cell, serves as a template for translation. Scientists hope that it can be redesigned into a set of multifunctional drugs or vaccines in the body. Anything needed to treat or prevent disease is produced internally.
Specifically, we can design an mRNA sequence to encode a specific protein to treat diseases, and this is mRNA therapy.
Messenger RNA (blue) guides the ribosome to make new proteins (red)
Among them, the mRNA vaccine is to directly introduce the mRNA encoding a certain viral antigen protein into the somatic cells of the animal, and synthesize the corresponding antigen protein through the translation system of the host cell, and then induce the host to produce an immune response to the antigen protein. To achieve the purpose of preventing and treating viral infections.
In recent years, mRNA vaccines have been developing rapidly at an extremely alarming rate. There are not only a variety of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines, but also mRNA vaccines against rabies, Zika virus, cytomegalovirus, influenza and other viruses are also undergoing clinical trials. test.
Advantages and disadvantages of mRNA vaccines and drugs
Compared with traditional inactivated vaccines, subunit vaccines and genetically engineered vaccines, mRNA vaccines can provide stronger immune protection, and can be updated and iterated quickly according to pathogen mutations. In addition, after the nucleic acid vaccine is inoculated, the antigen protein is expressed in the host cell, which is not easy to cause adverse reactions in the body.
Not only that, there are also differences in the dosage of mRNA vaccines and mRNA drugs. Generally speaking, vaccines only require one or a few doses. Once the immune system is trained to be immune to specific pathogens, it does not need to be supplemented. But relatively speaking, mRNA drugs may require repeated injections to maintain their efficacy. At present, most of the mRNA drugs entering clinical trials are drugs whose drug effect is longer than the drug lasting time.
However, when patients need repeated doses of mRNA to continue the therapeutic effect, the side effects may appear-this may be caused by the accumulation of lipid nanoparticles in the body or the inflammatory response to foreign RNA molecules. This side effect seriously hinders the application of mRNA vaccines and drugs.
mRNA vaccines can also be used for cancer prevention and treatment
Recently, the Xia Xiaojun research group of Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center and Wu Jun research group of the School of Biomedical Engineering of Sun Yat-sen University collaborated to publish a paper in PNAS magazine.
The study reported that a type of cationic lipid material C1, as a nano-delivery carrier for antigen-encoding mRNA, can efficiently deliver and express mRNA encoding tumor antigens. At the same time, the nanocarrier itself can activate the natural immune receptor signal of antigen-presenting cells to achieve The dual functions of mRNA delivery vector and “self-adjuvant”; nano-tumor vaccines that deliver mRNA encoding tumor antigens with C1 have achieved good preventive and therapeutic effects in a variety of animal tumor models.
Recently, Wang Hai’s team and Nie Guangjun’s team from the National Nanoscience Center published a paper in Nano Letters, a journal under the American Chemical Society.
The research team designed a hydrogel containing graphene oxide (RO) and low-molecular-weight polyethyleneimine (LPEI), which can be used to deliver mRNA vaccines with immunostimulatory adjuvants and injected into a mouse model of melanoma , The mRNA vaccine can maintain activity for at least 30 days, inhibit tumor growth and prevent tumor metastasis.
These research results show that the hydrogel delivery system has great potential to help mRNA vaccines be used as cancer immunotherapy to achieve long-term anti-tumor effects.
The vaccine competition brought about by the global pandemic of the COVID-19 has greatly accelerated the rate of mRNA research and development. In addition to spawning two mRNA vaccines, it will also pave the way for the research of mRNA therapy in other disease fields.
(source:internet, reference only)