Can covid-19 vaccines cause 'turbo cancers'?
Brown University professor weighs in on mRNA vaccine safety and concerns about 'turbo cancers.'
A fiery debate has been raging about the possible link between covid-19 vaccines and ‘turbo cancers.’
The subject was thrust into the spotlight after an article published in The Atlantic in Sept 2022, told the story of well-known Belgian immunologist Michel Goldman, who thought the covid-19 vaccine had accelerated his lymphoma.
Knowing that chemotherapy would render him immunocompromised, Goldman rushed out to get vaccinated and boosted against covid-19 before commencing his cancer treatment.
But after his booster, he began to feel increasingly unwell - swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, and night sweats. A subsequent CT scan showed new cancer clusters “like someone had set off fireworks inside his body.”
The story prompted a flood of anecdotes on social media about people’s cancers becoming ‘turbo charged’ following covid vaccination and some doctors said they had observed a spike in aggressive cancers in young patients.
Other doctors fiercely criticised the article for stoking vaccine hesitancy. Prominent haematologist-oncologist Vinay Prasad took to social media to say The Atlantic article was “irresponsible.”
“Where is the evidence that mRNA vaccines fuel cancer growth even in a subset of people? Case-reports don't count, obviously. You need careful epidemiological evidence to make such a claim. Where is that? Do that before you cover it in the news. Duh,” tweeted Prasad at the time.
So, I decided to speak with physician-scientist and medical oncologist Professor Wafik El-Deiry, about his thoughts on covid vaccines and “turbo cancers.”
El-Deiry is Director of the Cancer Center at Brown University and has a 30-year career in cancer research. Recently, he received the 2023 Inventor Of The Year award for his work related to novel cancer therapeutics.