A vaccine for lung cancer? FDA approves clinical trial for groundbreaking jab created in Cuba
- Cuba, which has reputation for world-class healthcare, has developed a lung cancer vaccine that has shown significant boost in life expectancy
- Now, since thaw in US-Cuba relations, American officials plan to test it
- The FDA has approved trials in Buffalo, New York, for 60-90 patients
- The jab, a kind of immunotherapy, is at the cutting edge of cancer research
Cuba's groundbreaking lung cancer vaccine is being tested for approval in the US.
The island has a global reputation for high-quality healthcare and innovations at the forefront of research in diseases, including Ebola and cancer.
Now, since the recent thaw in relations between America and Cuba, US medical leaders are seizing the opportunity to snap up the best of Cuban developments.
Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, has received approval from the FDA to begin clinical trials after a trade trip to Havana in 2015 with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Havana's Center of Molecular Immunology has developed an immunotherapy vaccine that starves cancer - and has been proven to boost life expectancy. Now it is bound for the US
HOW DOES THE LUNG CANCER VACCINE WORK?
On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo joined Roswell Park officials to announce the trial - the first of its kind.
The treatment, called CIMAvax-EGF, is a form of immunotherapy - training the body's immune system to attack and destroy cancer.
It was developed by Havana's Center of Molecular Immunology.
The trial, expected to begin next month, will involve 60 to 90 adult patients who have Stage IIIB or Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer.
They must have a life expectancy of at least six months, and must have already tried first-line systemic chemotherapy.
The vaccine manipulates the body's immune system to block a type of protein that cancer cells need to grow.
Unlike treatments like chemotherapy, it does not aim to 'kill' the cancer cells directly.
Instead, it starves them, making it impossible for the protein to attach to the cell's receptor.
Without this connection, the cell cannot grow and multiply, and eventually it will die.
The vaccine attaches to another kind of protein that triggers an immune response.
It causes the body to produce antibodies that hamper cancer-fueling proteins.
Consequently, the amount of cancer-fueling proteins in the body diminishes, starving the cancer.
The vaccine has been tested in a number of countries around the world including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Cuba.
All of those countries have approved the vaccine.
So far, more than 4,000 lung cancer patients have received the vaccine in trials.
The tests showed a significantly higher rate of survival, better quality of life for patients, and overall tumor stabilization.
The vaccine is at the cutting edge of cancer research.
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