The vaccine would provide lifelong protection against three of the top ten leading causes of death, according to Euan Ashley, professor of medicine and genetics at Stanford University. The so-called "superhero" jab could offer simultaneous, long-term protection against heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and liver disease, thanks to advances in genetic engineering.
This breakthrough treatment would deliver the blueprint of "ideal" cells from men and women whose genes are more disease-resistant than those of the average person, together with an "instruction manual" to help the body "repair, tweak and improve" its own versions. A single dose could lead to a "body-wide genetic upgrade" that would cut the risk of premature death in some adults by as much as 50 percent.
When would a 'superhero' vaccine become available?
Ashley says the vaccine would be administered to those in serious clinical need before being rolled out to the wider population, including children. Clinical trials of individual components are expected to begin by 2026, with the combination vaccine to become available within 10 to 15 years.
If breakthroughs in genome research and technology continue to evolve at the same rapid pace, the vaccine could be widely available worldwide in just 10 years, according to Ashley, who is also the associate dean at Stanford University. Prof. Ashley, 49, is the founding director of Stanford's Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease and its Clinical Genomics Program.