New lung cancer vaccine from Cuba

Cuba has a new promising lung cancer vaccine called CimaVax that may soon be coming to the United States. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the United States. It kills more people than colon, prostate, and breast cancer combined. Lung cancer is very difficult to identify early and very difficult to treat being that it is most often discovered in an advanced stage. More than 50 percent of patients die within a year of being diagnosed.

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Key statistics about lung cancer (according to American Cancer Association):

·         Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer among men and women in the United States

·         It accounts for about 13 percent of all new cancers

·         It is estimated that in 2015 in the United States there will be about 221,200 new cases of lung cancer and about 158,040 deaths from lung cancer

·         Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

·         Lung cancer mainly occurs in older people. About 2 out of 3 people diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or older; fewer than 2 percent of all cases are found in people younger than 45. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 70.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute, a research group based in Buffalo, New York, recently made a deal with a Cuban biotechnology institute to bring the lung cancer vaccine to the United States. They want to conduct clinical trials in hopes of eventually having a successful lung cancer vaccine available in the United States. CimaVax has been researched in Cuba for the past 25 years. It is now available to the public community in Cuba and is free. Thanks to President Obama who recently loosened the trade embargo on Cuba that has been in effect for the past 55 years, CimaVax may soon be possibility for the American people too. 

It is important for people to know how CimaVax works. It is not a cure for lung cancer. What it does is it helps the immune system by producing antibodies that work against a protein that causes cancer cells to grow. It works by slowing the growth of the tumor. Clinical trials conducted in Cuba have shown that the vaccine can prolong a lung cancer patient’s life by four to six months. CimaVax is also inexpensive to develop and is much less harmful on the body than chemotherapy.

The researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute believe CimaVax may be able to prevent lung cancer in the years to come. Their goal is to get approval to start clinical trials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration within a year. A number of countries in Europe as well as Japan have already begun clinical trials with CimaVax.