Cuban scientists held a news conference earlier this week at the Center of Molecular Immunology in Havana to announce the availability of the new vaccine. They reported that studies had shown CimaVax EGF increased lung cancer patient survival an average of 4 to 5 months and it produced fewer side effects than standard therapies because the vaccine only targets malignant cells.
Several private companies have already been licensed to market the treatment, which will be produced in Cuba.
Cuban health officials said patients from outside the island nation are welcome to travel Cuba for treatment, but American patients may be unable to take advantage of the offer because of travel restrictions put in place by the US in the 1960s. As one Havana scientist said,
“Even though there is a new therapeutic tool approved in Cuba they (US citizens) probably wouldn’t be able to come to Cuba to receive it because of the embargo.”
Tania Crombet, MD
Director of Clinical Investigations
Molecular Immunology Center (Havana)
Health experts estimate lung cancer claims more than 1.3 million lives worldwide each year, with more than 160,000 of those deaths occurring in the U.S.
The vaccine has been approved for clinical trials in the United States and other countries, but approval by the US Food and Drug Administration — if it comes — is not expected for several years. Peru is also expected to make CimaVax EGF publicly available to patients later this year.
If you’d like to learn more about treatments currently available to help lung cancer patients in the US, you can visit the Lung Cancer Page by the National Cancer Institute.
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