For the past 55 years, a US-led trade embargo on Cuba has ensured that technological advances made by the country stayed in Cuba – but now, with the Obama administration looking to normalize trade between the two nations, a Cuban lung cancer vaccine is set to be evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The vaccine, known as CimaVax-EGF, is the first therapeutic cancer vaccine developed to target one of the most common forms of lung cancer, non-small-cell lung carcinoma(1).
Developed at the Center of Molecular Technology in Cuba, the vaccine is still in trial phases, but bringing it to the United States could be a major step forward in making it accessible globally.
Early Trials Are Promising
Early trials of the vaccine showed improved survival rates among vaccinated test subjects, although the success of the vaccine does seem to be limited by age – only subjects under the age of 60 seemed to benefit from the vaccine in terms of survival(2).
The vaccine works by immunizing patients with epidermal growth factor, or EGF, raising antibodies to target the EGF itself in the body. The EGF receptors are then “hijacked” by the lung cancer, and as the EGF concentrations in the blood are reduced, the cancer cells are denied the growth stimulus they require to thrive(3).
The Roswell Park Group in the United States believes that the vaccine may prove most useful as preventative, rather than therapeutic, medicine for this reason(4).
Cuba’s Response To A Unique Problem
While Cuba is a relatively impoverished nation (the average worker there earns just 20 dollars per month) it has also been on the cutting edge of biotech and medical research.
Currently, lung cancer is the fourth-leading cause of death in Cuba(5), a fact which has spurred the development of the CimaVax-EGF vaccine.
The vaccine is relatively cheap to produce, and stores easily – each shot costs the government of Cuba only 1 dollar(6).
Also notable is the fact the vaccine seems to have few serious side effects(7), making it one of the safest cancer treatments on the market today.
Future Cancer Vaccine Development
Clinical trials of the vaccine so far have been relatively small, and there is some concern that the patients included in these trials may not represent most of the patients who could benefit from the vaccine. With this is mind, many researchers are urging that CimaVax-EGF be tested in patients with early-stage lung cancer, as well as in patients who may not be good candidates for chemotherapy.
Many researchers believe that studying the CimaVax-EGF vaccine may be able to help them develop similar therapies for other forms of cancer as well.
Working Around Trade Embargoes
It’s only recently that collaborative research between Cuba and the US has been possible – President Obama has used some of his authority to lift a few of the restrictions against medical and research equipment, but there is still a ways to go before this collaboration can really take off.
Still, many hope that a scientific partnership between the US and Cuba will be good for both countries.
The hope is that Cuban researchers will be able to begin to share the techniques and approaches they developed while in relative isolation with the rest of the world, leading to more innovation in science and medicine worldwide.
- Two Minutes of Walking For Each Hour Spent Sitting Can Drastically Improve Health, Study Says
We all know that a sedentary lifestyle isn’t ideal, but many people just can’t help it: they have jobs that …
- How The Pharmaceutical Industry Is Partly Responsible For Creating “Superbugs”
While antibiotic drugs like penicillin have saved countless lives and eliminated most public health threats like syphilis, there is a …
- Scientists Examined The Mouths, Skin and Feces of an Amazonian Tribe…Here’s What They Discovered.
The recent discovery of a semi-nomadic community of about 15,000 Yanomami people in southern Venezuela(1) has doctors and scientists wondering …
- Researchers Discover ‘Missing Link’ Between Brain and Immune System (This Changes Everything!)
A recent study has turned decades of medical education on its head by reporting a direct connection between the brain …
- Onion Extract Can Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels, Study Shows
A recent study has researchers wondering if onion extract could be the key to new therapies for individuals with diabetes. …
- This Vitamin’s Anti-Inflammatory Properties Can Help Fight Low-Grade Prostate Cancer, Study Finds
When most of us think of Vitamin D, we immediately think about its effects on our skin. Most of the …
- Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil To Your Meals To Help Lower Blood Sugar And Bad Cholesterol
Now, an Italian study published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes has shown that extra virgin olive oil itself may have …
- Scientists Discover That Living Near Trees Is Good For Your Health
It’s been shown that there are significant cognitive and psychological benefits to being exposed to nature, but in a recent …
- Sleeping Next To Your Mobile Device is a Terrible Idea And Here’s Why…
If you go to sleep with your cell phone near your bed, you’re not alone. More and more people are …
- Medical Marijuana Is Legalized Across The Entire Continent Of Australia!
History was made this month for the people Down Under. The Australian parliament passed a bill to amend the current …
- These Plantable Coffee Cups Are Embedded With Seeds That Turn Into New Plants When Discarded
Every year, Americans throw away approximately 25,000,000,000 styrofoam cups(1). Even worse, these cups are non-biodegradable, meaning that up to 500 …
- Two Common Food Additives Linked To Obesity and Gut Inflammation (They’re Often Found in Ice Cream!)
Two common food additives known as emulsifiers – compounds which preserve foods like mayonnaise and stop them from separating – could …
- Natural Compound Found in Green Tea Helps Kill Oral Cancer Cells Without Harming Healthy Cells
According to the American Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with some form of oral cancer this …
- Eating Foods High in Vitamin E Can Help Protect and Repair Damaged Immune Cells
Oxidative stress is well known to have a negative impact on your immune system(1) – which is a big part …
- Researchers Confirm What Pretty Much Everyone Suspected…Watching Cat Videos Is Good For You
Admit it – you like to watch cat videos on the internet. It’s okay, everyone does. The skyrocketing popularity of …