According to the Huffington Post, CimaVax, which is both a treatment and vaccine for lung cancer, has been researched in Cuba for 25 years and free to the Cuban public since 2011. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s trade mission to Cuba in April 2015 resulted in a signed agreement to bring CimaVax to the U.S., but as with all international drugs and treatments, U.S. researchers need to conduct clinical trials and replicate international scientists’ results before it becomes available to the American public.
“We’re still at the very early stages of assessing the promise of this vaccine, but the evidence so far from clinical trials in Cuba and Europe has been striking,”
said Dr. Kelvin Lee, Jacobs Family Chair in Immunology and co-leader of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, the research center that is evaluating CimaVax for U.S. use.
The hoped-for success of CimaVax availability in the U.S. is just one example of the possibilities that come with open trade between the two nations.
CimaVax induces people to build antibodies against a certain growth factor that cancer cells make. For people who already have lung cancer, this response results in the body actually getting rid of the cancer cells. And for people who are currently healthy but at high risk for lung cancer — say, a lung cancer patient in remission — the treatment acts as a vaccine to prevent future relapse.
Candace Johnson, CEO of Roswell Park envisions that it could one day be a standard preventive vaccine that a person gets in childhood, much like the way we get vaccinated against polio, measles, mumps and rubella.
What do you think about a cancer vaccine?