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Vaccines already exist that prevent cancers caused by infection, such as against the human papilloma virus that causes some cervical cancers. But this challenge is to develop vaccines that work against non-viral cancers, which are caused by faults in our DNA that accumulate over time.

That’s what really makes this a Grand Challenge. Because cancer is a disease of the body’s own cells, it is more challenging to coax the immune system to recognize and eliminate early stage cancers, where the difference between healthy cells and abnormal cells might be very small.

But the promise is huge: imagine if we could vaccinate against cancer as we do for infectious diseases such as TB and measles. Grand Challenge could make this a reality.