Tags: Castro-Cuba | Cancer | lung | cancer | vaccine | trials

Lung Cancer Vaccine From Cuba May Get US Tryouts Within Year

By    |   Wednesday, 13 May 2015 05:33 PM

A new lung cancer vaccine developed in Cuba and so far found to be effective and non-toxic could be accepted for clinical trials in the United States within a year.

CimaVax, a development of Cuba's Center for Molecular Immunology (CMI), is considered "exciting" by researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, which is working with Cuban authorities and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin clinical trials in the U.S., ABC News reports.

The drug, which acts by attacking a protein that feeds tumors, functions not as a cure for lung cancer but as a means of turning advanced lung cancer into a manageable condition, Wired reports, by keeping the cancer from growing and metastasizing.

The drug also could alleviate symptoms such as chest pain, hoarseness and fatigue and prevent the cancer from recurring in people who have become asymptomatic, Dr. Candace Johnson, Roswell's CEO, told WIVB-TV.

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"The growth factor causes it to grow. If you take the growth factor away, the cancer doesn’t grow. So, this is an anti-growth factor vaccine. That's unique. It's not killing the tumor cell directly. It's taking something the tumor cell needs to grow away. So, it has less toxicity associated with it," she said.

She credited New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recent visit to Cuba with finalizing the link between CMI and Roswell.

In Cuban tests between 1995 and 2005, the drug gave an additional four-six months of life to patients with non-small cell lung cancer, which comprises 85-90 percent of all lung cancers, over those who received only traditional treatments, Business Insider reports.

The drug is given free to lung cancer patients in Cuba on a regular basis, at a government cost of $1 per dose, Wired notes.

Immunologist Kelvin Lee at Roswell said CimaVax also might play a role in the treatment of prostate, colon, breast and pancreatic cancers.

"All those things are potential targets for this vaccine," he told Wired.

Cuba, Business Insider notes, has 600 doctors and nurses per 100,000 citizens, while the U.S. has only about 250.

"Investigators from around the world are trying to crack the nut of cancer. The Cubans are thinking in ways that are novel and clever," biologist Thomas Rothstein, of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, which has been working with CMI on another lung cancer vaccine, called Racotumomab, told Wired.

"The chance to evaluate a vaccine like this is a very exciting prospect," Johnson told Wired.

The American Cancer Society notes that there are 221,000 new cases of lung cancer every year in the U.S., resulting in about 158,040 deaths.

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A new lung cancer vaccine developed in Cuba and so far found to be effective and non-toxic could be accepted for clinical trials in the United States within a year.
lung, cancer, vaccine, trials
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2015-33-13
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 05:33 PM
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