Cuba’s vaccine against lung cancer – safe and effective

cimavax 2Two days of fruitful debate in the 5th CIMAvax-EGF International Workshop on the first registered therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer, confirmed that after two decades of clinical experience in the use of this vaccine, the treatment has been proven safe and effective given the positive reaction of patients, the increase in survival rates and improved quality of life.

An excellent prognosis

An excellent prognosis in a context where lung cancer, according to the Annual Health Statistics report 2014, is among the top causes of death for both men and women in the country, and is one of the illnesses showing the greatest increase in both genders.

The ideal place to present the final results of the study

The Workshop, organized by CIMAB S.A – biopharmaceutical entity dedicated to the development and commercialization of cancer medicines, affiliated with the Molecular Immunology Center (CIM) – was the ideal place to present the final results of the study on

  • confirming the effectiveness of CIMAvax-EGF in treating advanced pulmonary cancer;
  • the use of the vaccine in treating lung cancer at a primary healthcare level;
  • its global safety accreditation;
  • biomarkers to predict patients’ response to the vaccine;
  • post-registration experiences in other countries;
  • CIMAvax-EGF in the context of therapies directed toward patients with lung cancer; and
  • its use in treating prostate cancer.

The vaccine has been included in the country’s basic catalogue of essential medicines

According to information presented during the event, more than 3,000 patients, the majority Cubans, have benefited from the vaccine. Dr. Giselle Suárez, expert at CIM’s commercial office, reported to the press that since 2015, the vaccine has been included in the country’s basic catalogue of essential medicines, and is available across all levels of the national health system.

Speaking with the press, Dr. Eva Salamón, head of the Provincial Oncology Group, noted that the treatment is being successfully applied in 18 primary health care polyclinics in Havana, with more than 300 patients benefiting from the vaccine in the capital.

This novel therapeutic technique – able to generate antibodies in the patient to combat their own EGF (epidermal growth factor), the principle cell-activator of the epidermal growth factor receptor EGFr, thus impeding the process of carcinogenesis (when a normal cell mutates in to a cancer cell) – is registered in Cuba, Peru and Paraguay.

The importance of personalized medicine

Mathematics graduate, Patricia Luaces, statistics analyst of the clinical information management group of CIM’s clinical direction, emphasized to Granma the importance of personalized medicine: “In general the immunotherapies have effects which are different from those we are accustomed to when analyzing chemotherapy and traditional cancer treatments. Not all work the same in patients, the reaction depends on the characteristics of the treatments, thus they need to be analyzed with the use of innovative statistical techniques in order to process the results.

“Today, we are looking for biomarkers in patients which identify – on the basis of data and the characteristics of their immune systems in general – the sub-groups demonstrating the best response to the therapies,” stated Luaces.

“There are no sicknesses, but rather sick people, and the idea is to focus on treatment. The results are very preliminary and the most solid evidence we have today is related to the base concentration of the EGF, as a good indicator to select patients who will respond well to the therapy,” she concluded.

Roswell Park Institute against Cancer in New York signed an agreement

Recently, CIM and the Roswell Park Institute against Cancer, in New York, signed an agreement to export to the United States this therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer, so clinical trials will soon begin.

new york cuba trade missionCIMAVax-EGF, created in 2011 after 15 years of research, with patent rights worldwide, is registered in Cuba and Peru.  Brazil, Argentina and Colombia are among the countries that are in the process of its registration, and some, like the UK and Australia, have conducted clinical trials with it.

4 thoughts on “Cuba’s vaccine against lung cancer – safe and effective

  1. Extremely good. What is needed now is a Vaccine for Prostate and Breast cancers and Cuba can find it. Congrats to them.

  2. Again, Cuba demonstrating the superiority of their scientists and willingness to share, even with their antagonist across the straits. Thanks to their emphasis on human capital and consequent high levels of innovation.

    What a difference in outlook!! Which is really better for a nation? Money-based? community-based? Hybrid? Where is Jamaica in all this?

  3. The capacity and the potential of the Cuban revolution to be a force for good for humanity seems to grow with each natural disaster whether in Nepal or Haiti, each epidemic such as Ebola in West Africa and each medical discovery such Cuba’s vaccine against lung cancer known as CIMAVAX-EGF.

    Amidst severe hardships and huge sacrifices including the criminal US blockade, the Cuban people and their revolution have done many admirable things that have saved lives, defeated racist and reactionary armies in Angola and elsewhere, sent doctors, nurses and teachers to propel development in countless countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and Latin America.

    However, as admirable as the foregoing feats are for the progress of humanity, Cuba’s medical discoveries particularly its discoveries in cancer vaccines are perhaps the most impressive given the dread and powerlessness of tens of thousands of people around the world upon hearing a diagnosis with the ” C”word from their doctors.

    There is a strong case to be made in defense of the Cuban revolution in the context of its many contributions to not only improve the lot of Cubans but also to improve the lives of people around the world including Americans. Indeed, the recent rapprochement between the governments of the US and Cuba to open up diplomatic relationships is a good start. However, it must be emphasized that the medical technologies and discoveries including Cuba’s lung cancer vaccines can only save American lives and benefit Americans when and only when the economic blockade is removed by the US Congress.

    Sadly because of the blockade no doubt thousands of Americans have died from lung cancer and thousand more have suffered amputations due to diabetes though Cuba has developed a drug to prevent diabetic amputations as well. Indeed, I attended the funeral of a dear colleague last Friday who died from lung cancer and whose life could perhaps be spared in the absence of the US blockade against Cuba.

    Potentially, the failed blockade may have robbed me and many more of a dear colleague, her children of a dear mother and her siblings and church members of a dear sister and congregant.

    In conclusion, Cuba has developed a lot of medicines, technologies and other health care innovations among other products from which America and Americans stand to benefit.

    However, it is equally true that Anerica and Americans have a great deal of goods and services to sell to Cuba such as relatively cheaper tractors, machines, spare parts for buses, trains, fertilizers, cars, medicines, foods and others from which Cuba and Cubans stand to benefit.

    Currently, Cuba spends tens of millions of dollars more for those cited goods and others like rice and meat that they have to purchase at significantly higher prices in markets in Japan, Asia and Europe each year because the blockade prevents Cuba from buying them much cheaper from US exporters. The latter means that over the last 55 years the US economic blockade has drained billions of dollars more from Cuba for more expensive tractors, fertilizers, foods, rice and other products that could have been invested in infrastructure such as housing and transportation which continue to be major challenges and that could have spurred more growth and development for the Cuban people.

    Indeed, some of these billions of dollars could have been invested in manufacturing and importing more and superior quality consumer products such as electronics, shoes, toiletries, clothing and others for which Western capitalist governments habitually criticize the Cuban government about ” denying” the Cuban people. However, these governments have deliberately ignored explaining how these additional costs imposed by the blockade may have prevented the Cuban government from investing some of these wasted billions of dollars in provision of such consumer goods. Needless to say some of these wasted billions of dollars could also have been invested in further medical research into cancer and other diseases to benefit humanity all over the globe.

    Further, these Western capitalist governments hypocritically down played the costly effects of the US blockade on the Cuban economy and its people saying things like “The Castro brothers used the blockade to explain why things fail in Cuba” among other blatant denials of the actual costs of the blockade on the Cuban people.

    In other words, these lying governments and their pundits have known all along that the blockade imposed on the Cuban government decisions that economists call trade-offs that necessitated that they prioritized vital imports from Japan, Europe and elsewhere at prices many times higher than they could have gotten them for in US markets to keep their economy afloat.

    Thus, against the background of the foregoing, it should be patently obvious that both Cubans and Americans stand to gain mutually from an early ending of the destructive and failed economic blockade which was originally designed as an integral element of a strategy to destroy the Cuban revolution.

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