Before the pandemic, they were already looking for ways to use the body’s immune system to fight tumors.
German scientist Özlem Türeci has won the competition to provide the first now widely used coronavirus vaccine (BioNTech / Pfizer), and he claims that the technology will soon be used against another global Scourge: cancer.
German biotech company BioNTech and her husband UğurŞahin (Turkish) co-founder Türeci are studying a way to use the body’s immune system to fight tumors. Last year, they learned that an unknown virus infected Chinese people and eventually became the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, killing 2.7 million people out of nearly 123 million infections worldwide.
At that time, the two decided to apply the technology they had been researching for 20 years to a new threat, called the “Project Lightspeed”.
Only 11 months later, the UK has authorized the use of the mRNA vaccine jointly developed by BioNTech and the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. In the following week, the US has received the vaccine in thousands of people worldwide since December.
Türeci said in an interview with the Associated Press: “It is worthwhile to make a bold decision and believe that if you have an excellent team, you will be able to solve any problems and obstacles you encounter in real time.”
For small German companies that have not yet launched a product on the market, one of the biggest challenges Mainz faces is how to conduct large-scale clinical trials in different regions and how to expand the manufacturing process to meet global demand.
Türeci said that the company, together with Pfizer, sought help from Fosun Pharma in China “to introduce assets, capabilities and geographic influence that we do not have.”
Among the lessons she and her husband, BioNTech CEO and colleagues learned together include “important cooperation and collaboration at the international level.”
Türeci is a Turkish immigrant born in Germany. He said that his company has employees in 60 countries. He contacted the medical supervision agency early to ensure that the new COVID vaccine passed the strict review of the regulatory agency.
As the popularity of BioNTech continues to increase during the pandemic, its value also increases, providing the company with funds that can be used to achieve its original goal of developing new cancer tools.
Vaccines produced by BioNTech-Pfizer and American Moderna use messenger RNA (mRNA) to carry instructions into the human body to produce proteins that enable it to attack specific viruses. The same principle can be applied to the immune system to fight tumors.
Türeci, Chief Medical Officer of BioNTech, said: “We have several different mRNA-based cancer vaccines.” When asked when this therapy can be used, he replied: “It is difficult to predict in the development of innovation. But we Hopefully, in a few short years, we will also use the (cancer) vaccine in a place where people can get vaccines.”
Yesterday in Berlin, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier awarded one of the country’s highest honors to medical spouses at an awards ceremony attended by the Doctor of Medicine Chancellor Angela Merkel. Stanmeier praised the couple and said: “This started with a drug that can be used to treat a person, and now, we have provided a vaccine for all mankind.”