‘This is huge. We could now have a vaccine that can target a tumour and kill it without damage to surrounding healthy tissues or cells.

‘In the short term, this could cure some patients with the disease, and in the long term it could be used to prevent people developing it in the first place.’

Professor Karol Sikora, a leading cancer expert, said: ‘This is a very clever vaccine and I believe it will increase the cure rate for patients in the future.’ More than 10,000 people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma every year in Britain.