Lung Cancer Vaccine: Cuba And U.S. To Collaborate On Cimavax Vaccine Study

A lung cancer vaccine might be on its way to trials in the United States from Cuba. A visit New York Governor Andrew Cuomo paid to Havana in April spawned new possibilities for a vaccination that could protect people from developing lung cancer. The agreement was made with Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology to develop a vaccine that would be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Wired reports that Cimavax is the name of the lung cancer vaccine going into U.S. trials. Candace Johnson is the CEO of Roswell Park and says the vaccination shows promise because it has low toxicity and is fairly inexpensive to produce and store.

Roswell Park will have all of the documentation transferred to them from the Center for Molecular Immunology. Johnson is hoping to get approval for testing Cimavax within six to eight months and start trials within a year.

Since Cuba is known for cigars and — and reportedly has some of the “best and most inventive biotech and medical research in the world” — this makes them significant in the lung cancer vaccine creation. In spite of spending very little on health care per individual, people there have the same life expectancy as the average American.

Johnson says this is due to people in Cuba having to do more with less.

“They’ve had to do more with less, so they’ve had to be even more innovative with how they approach things. For over 40 years, they have had a preeminent immunology community.”

The lung cancer vaccine doesn’t attack tumors directly but targets the protein which tumors produce and circulates in the blood. This causes antibodies against a hormone called “epidermal growth factor,” and can cause cancer if it goes unnoticed. To put it in another way, Cimavax is designed to prevent lung tumors from growing and metastasizing, “turning a late-stage growth into something chronic but manageable,” according to the report.

The Cancer Research Institute writes that lung cancer represents 13 percent of all cancer diagnoses every year and is attributed to roughly one in five cancer-related deaths. The majority of lung cancer patients are diagnosed with an advanced disease (stage IIIb/IV). Treatments for these cancer patients currently include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy — none of which typically have a cured outcome. It may increase survival time and help make symptoms of lung cancer less severe, however.

The Inquisitr has written about lung cancer and new medical developments emerging in an effort to help millions of people.

Many are hoping the lung cancer vaccine, Cimavax, will be approved by the FDA and make a big difference after trials are concluded.

[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]