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Putin says Russia is close to creating cancer vaccines

cancer
Russia's President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the Future Technologies Forum in Moscow

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russian scientists were close to creating vaccines for cancer that could soon be available to patients.

Putin said in televised comments that “we have come very close to the creation of so-called cancer vaccines and immunomodulatory drugs of a new generation”.

“I hope that soon they will be effectively used as methods of individual therapy,” he added, speaking at a Moscow forum on future technologies.

Putin did not specify which types of cancer the proposed vaccines would target, nor how.

A number of countries and companies are working on cancer vaccines. Last year the UK government signed an agreement with Germany-based BioNTech to launch clinical trials providing “personalised cancer treatments”, aiming to reach 10,000 patients by 2030.

Pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Merck & Co are developing an experimental cancer vaccine that a mid-stage study showed cut the chance of recurrence or death from melanoma – the most deadly skin cancer – by half after three years of treatment.

There are currently six licensed vaccines against human papillomaviruses (HPV) that cause many cancers, including cervical cancer, according to the World Health Organization, as well as vaccines against hepatitis B (HBV), which can lead to liver cancer.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Russia developed its own Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 and sold it to a number of countries, although domestically it ran up against widespread public reluctance to get vaccinated.

Putin himself said he had taken Sputnik, in a bid to assure people of its efficacy and safety.

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