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THE Cuban Vaccine goes to Trial!!!


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Cuba: New vaccine against lung cancer at the disposal of the people

Orfilio Pelaez

Havana, March 21, 2009.- Cuba has just renovated the hopes of being able to control lung cancer progression some day, it has registered the only therapeutic vaccine in the world to fight against tha disease, the most frequent and deadliest among malignant noeplasias.

Known as CIMAvaxEGF, this new product is the result of team work of a group of scientists from the Molecular Immunology Center (CIM) led by Dr. Gisela Gonzalez Marinello, PhD, in collaboration with specialists from the Biotechnology and Genetical Enginerring Center (CIGB), Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital, the National Oncology and Radiobiology Institute (INOR), the Medico-Surgical Research Center (CIMEQ), the National Clinical Test Coordinating Center (CENCEC), and other institutions that belong to the national health system.

Dr. Tania Crombet Ramos, director of Clinical Research at CIM, told this journal that during the different clinical tests carried out in Cuba, England, Canada and Malaysia the vaccine has been tested on more than 800 patients suffering from advanced lung cancer, and the results obtained are encouraging. A Phase III clinical test is in progress in 20 hospitals of the country, it will allow to consolidate the effectiveness of the evaluation of the vaccine.

As indicated by its name, specified Dr. Crombet, the cancer therapeutic vaccines do not have either preventive character or intend to cure. The main objective is to try to keep the tumor under control for long periods of time, delaying as much as possible its progression.

By the time being, and the same as with the CIMAvaxEGF, they are used combined with the rest of traditional oncolgy therapy, that is, it does not substitute the use of radiations or cytostatics.

She also said, that so far there is not any test for the early detection of lung neoplasias, for that reason the product has been tested on patients suffering from advanced lung cancer, although it has been considered to start this year a new clinical test in patients with earlier stages of the disease.

Recently, this new and promissing product was awarded the Prize of the Cuban Academy of Sciences as the work with the greatest scientific contribution in 2008. At the same time it has been patented, and 14 articles about it have been published in well-known international magazines.

As explained by M.Sc. Gryssell Rodríguez Martínez, manager of the CIMAvaxEGF Vaccine Processes, and M.Sc. Ariadna Cuevas Fiallo, manager of the and Regulation Matters of the product, the technological novelty of this promising achievement of national science is to have been able to obtain an antigen where you find two chemically combined proteins (one generated by the human organism itself and a foreign one) capable of stimulating the capacity of the immunitary system to block or destroy tumor cells.

Adding certain components to the preparation of this formula the product immunogenecity is increased, its procurement and filling process comply strictly with the good practice principles of international pharmaceutical manufacturing.

There is still a lot to do on the way to search new and more efffective weapons to fight lung cancer, which causes the death of around 4500 patientes in our country every year. The vaccine achieved at the Molecular Immunology Center is a step full of hope.

(source: Granma newspaper)

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