Britain’s New Melanoma Vaccine Offers Personalised Hope

The fight against melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has taken a revolutionary step forward with the introduction of a personalised vaccine now in clinical trials in Britain. This groundbreaking development brings new hope to patients by leveraging advanced medical technology and genetic sequencing to tailor the vaccine to each individual’s cancer. The new mRNA-4157 (V940) vaccine, created by Moderna and Merck Sharp & Dohme, promises to significantly reduce the recurrence of melanoma and potentially offer a cure.

In this article, we explore how this vaccine works, its revolutionary approach to treating melanoma, and its broader implications for cancer treatment.

The Breakthrough Vaccine

The new vaccine is designed to help the immune system recognise and eliminate melanoma cells. By analysing the genetic signature of each patient’s tumour, the vaccine is custom-built to instruct the body to produce antibodies that target markers found only on those cancer cells. This personalised approach ensures that the vaccine is highly effective for each patient, offering melanoma patients renewed hope for recovery.

The vaccine is currently in final-stage Phase III trials, being tested alongside pembrolizumab, a drug that helps the immune system attack cancer cells. The combined treatment is not yet available on the NHS outside of clinical trials, but its success could lead to broader availability.

A Revolutionary Approach

The mRNA-4157 (V940) vaccine leverages the same technology as the Covid vaccines, using genetic sequencing and artificial intelligence to design a vaccine that matches each patient’s unique cancer. This technology enables the vaccine to target the neoantigens present on each tumour, triggering an anti-tumour immune response based on the specific mutations found in the patient’s cancer.

This medical technology offers a revolutionary approach to treating melanoma, allowing for personalised medicine that is custom-built for each patient.

How the Vaccine Works

The vaccine works by carrying coding for up to 34 neoantigens, which are expressed by tumours in each patient. Once injected, the vaccine instructs the body to produce antibodies that attack these markers, reducing the risk of melanoma returning. This personalised approach ensures that the vaccine specifically targets the patient’s cancer cells, providing a tailored treatment that offers hope for a cure.

Melanoma Symptoms to Watch

Early detection of melanoma can be life-saving. Key signs include:

  • New abnormal moles: These may differ in shape, colour, or size from regular moles.
  • Changing moles: Any alteration in size, texture, or appearance of existing moles can indicate a problem.
  • Unusual skin patches: Pay attention to patches that are darker or rougher than normal.

Promptly recognising these symptoms can lead to early intervention, improving the chances of successful treatment.

The Trial’s Success

The clinical trials for the personalised vaccine have shown promising results, significantly reducing the risk of melanoma recurrence:

  • Phase 2 trials: Conducted by Moderna and MSD, these trials demonstrated the vaccine’s ability to lower the risk of melanoma returning.
  • Phase 3 trials: Now underway in the UK, the trials aim to recruit 60-70 patients across several centres, including London, Manchester, and Edinburgh.

If successful, these trials could lead to broader availability of the vaccine, providing a new treatment option for melanoma patients worldwide.

Personalised Medicine’s Future

This vaccine’s success has broader implications for the future of personalised medicine:

  • Other cancers: The personalised vaccine approach is also being tested on lung, bladder, and kidney cancers, potentially offering new treatments for these diseases.
  • Custom-built treatments: The vaccine’s tailored approach represents a revolution in cancer treatment, offering solutions designed to match the unique genetic signature of each patient’s tumour.
  • Medical technology advancements: The use of genetic sequencing and artificial intelligence to create these vaccines highlights how technology can transform the medical field.

This revolutionary approach paves the way for tailored treatments that could redefine how we combat cancer.


The personalised melanoma vaccine offers a groundbreaking approach to treating one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. By leveraging genetic sequencing and medical technology, this custom-built vaccine targets each patient’s unique cancer, reducing the risk of recurrence and potentially offering a cure. The success of current trials could lead to broader availability, revolutionising melanoma treatment and paving the way for new solutions to other cancers. This innovative approach marks a significant step forward in personalised medicine, providing hope and renewed health to melanoma patients worldwide.


  1. How does the melanoma vaccine work? The vaccine instructs the body to create antibodies that attack cancer cells.
  2. Is the vaccine available on the NHS? It’s currently in clinical trials and not yet available on the NHS.
  3. What makes this vaccine personalised? It matches the unique genetic signature of each patient’s tumour.
  4. Are there trials outside the UK? Yes, trials are being conducted in several countries, including Australia.
  5. What cancers are being tested with the vaccine? Lung, bladder, and kidney cancers are also part of the trials.

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