Cuba, known for its smoking cigars, has a large problem with lung cancer, it being the fourth-leading cause of death in the country. Since 2011, however, Cuba has made a vaccine that could prevent the disease available to the public for free.
Reviews of the impact of the injection in Cuba and Europe are in the beginning stages, but early evidence has shown success, Dr. Kelvin Lee, co-leader of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, told The Huffington Post
Here are some facts about the shot, according to The Huffington Post, ABC News and USA Today.
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The vaccination is known as CimaVax. It is approved for use in Cuba and Peru.
CimaVax increased tumor-reducing antibody production in half of its cases.
The vaccine works best for younger people, having an increased effectiveness in those younger than 60.
So far, 5,000 individuals have been given the injection.
The preventative measure is affordable – Cuba pays one dollar for each shot.
No significant side effects have been found as of yet.
Researchers in the United States have been looking to create similar vaccinations for lung cancer known as GVAX and BLP 25, but not as many studies have been performed on them.
ClimaVax creates a protein that spurs the immune system to attack a lung cancer-growing hormone, preventing the tumor from enlarging, according to ABC News
It is a treatment for lung cancer, not a cure. The same method has shown to work in treating colon cancer and gives hope that it will also be able to treat other cancers.
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Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, has an agreement with Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology to conduct clinical trials of ClimaVax in the United States.
In Cuba, family physicians are able to administer the vaccination.
With innovations such as this, many have come to question if the U.S. embargo has hurt medical research, according to USA Today
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