A cancer vaccine trial has now treated its first Oxfordshire patient.

The trial is being carried out at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) and is largely concentrating on individuals with head and neck cancer.

This project is led by OUH's consultant clinical oncologist, Dr Ketan Shah.

Its goal is to investigate the possibility of mRNA cancer vaccines bolstering the effectiveness of immunotherapy.

Patients with either HPV-16 positive advanced, metastatic, or unresectable cancers are currently being recruited across Oxford, Southampton and Liverpool.

Dr Shah said: "This is the first mRNA cancer vaccine trial open in Oxford.

"We signed up to this study before COVID-19 made mRNA vaccine technology famous.

"It is an area we all think will expand rapidly. New technology needs to be tested thoroughly against what we currently offer, but we all hope that this approach could be transformative to patient care."

The new vaccines, manufactured by BioNTech, offer the body's immune system the blueprint of the malignant disease, allowing it to recognise and eradicate it more effectively.

Dr Lennard Lee, senior government advisor for the National Cancer Vaccine Advance, added: "Oxfordshire continues to build on the foundations of very effective vaccine research programmes.

"These mRNA cancer vaccines could be the silver lining of recent years, and an amazing tool for those affected by cancer."