Cuba releases world's first lung cancer vaccine

by Lisa Zyga weblog

(Medical Xpress) -- As the most common and deadliest form of cancer, lung cancer kills 1.4 million people per year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. While current treatments may improve the survival rate when the cancer is caught in its early stages, the five-year survival rate for late-stage lung cancer can be less than 1%. Now some patients with advanced lung cancer may have another tool to combat the disease, as Cuban medical authorities announced on Tuesday that they will begin selling the world’s first therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer.

The vaccine, called CimaVax-EGF, is intended for patients with lung cancer in stages three and four who have shown no positive response to other kinds of treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Although the vaccine doesn’t cure the disease, it can minimize the cancer’s growth due to its antibodies that combat the proteins that allow uncontrolled cell growth.

"The drug could turn the cancer into a manageable, chronic disease by generating antibodies against the proteins which triggered the uncontrolled cell proliferation," said Gisela Gonzalez at the Center of Molecular Immunology (CIM) in Havana, who is lead researcher of the project. "It is not possible to prevent the disease, but this vaccine improves significantly the status of the critically ill patients.”

The researchers have performed clinical studies and trials in more than 1,000 lung cancer patients in Cuba, where the vaccine is now distributed free of charge. Due in part to Cuba’s large smoking population, lung cancer is the leading cause of death in 12 of the country’s 15 provinces.

The is the result of 25 years of research by CIM scientists into diseases related to tobacco smoking. In the future, the researchers plan to apply the same principles of the CimaVAX-EGF to treat other cancerous tumors, such as those in prostate, uterus, and breast cancers.

More information: via: PopSci and Xinhua

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Valentiinro
5 / 5 (2) Sep 08, 2011
Well... good one, Cuba.
Simonsez
5 / 5 (4) Sep 08, 2011
I think it's fitting that such a vaccine should be developed in a country perhaps best known (commercially, anyway) for its tobacco products.
Temple
5 / 5 (3) Sep 08, 2011
I think it's fitting that such a vaccine should be developed in a country perhaps best known (commercially, anyway) for its tobacco products.


And (coincidentally perhaps?) not for its tobacco lobbyists.
technodiss
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 08, 2011
its too bad we'll never see it in the US because of laws limiting import of medicines and and our irrational fear of non-democratic nations
emsquared
2.3 / 5 (8) Sep 08, 2011
its too bad we'll never see it in the US because of laws limiting import of medicines and and our irrational fear of non-democratic nations

Is it an irrational fear or is it in fact a distinct trend that those nations tend to have volatile, anti-western dictators at their lead who have no problem killing other people just because they don't agree with them and take giant dumps on human rights?

Hmmm, nah, you must be right. Completely irrational.
emsquared
5 / 5 (6) Sep 08, 2011
Might I say though, that I recognize that certain political classifications of certain policies (universal healthcare, progressive tax systems, etc.) as "socialist" or "communist" are driven by irrational fear. :P
GreyLensman
4 / 5 (1) Sep 08, 2011
More details would be good, to say the least. There's almost nothing on % five year survival rates - or any measure of effectiveness at all.
Telekinetic
not rated yet Sep 08, 2011
I think it's fitting that such a vaccine should be developed in a country perhaps best known (commercially, anyway) for its tobacco products.

Actually, it should've been the "Sweet Tooth" vaccine.
antonima
4.5 / 5 (8) Sep 08, 2011
I think this is a terrific turn of events. However, seeing how the fact that it comes from Cuba is a major portion of the headline, I am skeptical it may be propaganda. Still, if it uses the body's own antibodies it is in fact a vaccine.


Is it an irrational fear or is it in fact a distinct trend that those nations tend to have volatile, anti-western dictators at their lead who have no problem killing other people just because they don't agree with them and take giant dumps on human rights?


Not Cuba. I did a report on Cuba in the 8th grade, I should know. ;) Cuba was liberated by Castro and the people were largely glad for it. It was a dirt-poor country back then and without almost any foreign aid (because of US imperialist policies during the cold war) has managed to greatly improve its educational system and infrastructure. The US attacked Cuba, not the other way around. I think you need to get your facts straight, sir!
PoppaJ
1 / 5 (2) Sep 08, 2011
My concern with this "information" is that in the article it is calling a late stage treatment, a vaccine. I'm not so sure the claim is valid.
Otto1882
4.6 / 5 (8) Sep 09, 2011

... dictators at their lead who have no problem killing other people just because they don't agree with them ...?


Replace 'dictators' with 'leaders' and you can say the same about America. It is quite ironic, but not surprising, that an individual living in a country currently engaged in military action in about a half dozen nations on the other side of the planet has the audacity to call out Cuba who has never invaded anyone.

Not a fan of Castro btw.
Vendicar_Decarian
4.1 / 5 (8) Sep 09, 2011
"... have no problem killing other people just because they don't agree with them and take giant dumps on human rights?" - EMSquared

You mean unlike the murderous U.S. military actions in Vietnam, Korea, Grenada, Nicaragua, Iraq, Honduras, Chile, Afghanistan, etc. etc.. etc...

Remind me..
Where are those WMD again?
tommytalks77
5 / 5 (5) Sep 09, 2011
Where is that idiot now that made fun of my comment about scientists around the world in countries that are not aligned to the interests of free western countries, like Cuba or North-Korea? What was that? "Cuba and it's three scientists"? lol

The big ego of americans is only shadowed by their willingness and ability to naively believe they are "the number one" in everything...
baudrunner
5 / 5 (1) Sep 09, 2011
Amazing, the hundreds of billions of dollars that have been spent thus far in the effort to make the filthy habit of smoking a safe and pleasurable activity.
emsquared
1 / 5 (1) Sep 09, 2011
Not Cuba. I did a report on Cuba in the 8th grade, I should know. ;)

I didn't call out Castro. However Cuba did align with Russia who's string of dictators were most definitely murderous, and since you did a report in the 8th grade I'm sure I don't need to point out the importance of a military asset for the USSR in Cuba, and that we didn't ever go to war with Cuba. You're the one needing to fact check (start with acronym: GULAG).
You mean unlike the murderous U.S. military actions in Vietnam, Korea, Grenada, Nicaragua, Iraq, Honduras, Chile, Afghanistan, etc. etc.. etc...

Thanks VD, for illustrating my point about human rights violators while propping up your straw man. I never said I agreed with every military action the US has ever taken, we were talking about communist regimes. I should have explicitly stated the historical regimes to be accurate as that was what was in my thoughts.

Please don't derail, you want to talk about a separate issue, PM me.
frajo
5 / 5 (2) Sep 10, 2011
in Cuba, where the vaccine is now distributed free of charge

I like that phrase. When will the west catch up?
fmfbrestel
5 / 5 (2) Sep 10, 2011
Yes, the term "vaccine" is way overused especially in relation to cancers. At the most broad definition a vaccine boosts immunity to an infectious disease - which cancer is not. just because a drug interacts with antibodies does not make it a vaccine.

That said, I look forward to seeing more research on this drug. Anything which can extend the quality life of late stage lung cancer patients is a good thing.

Not everyone that gets lung cancer smoked, and i think it's association with smoking hurts it's research attention. Almost as if people view it as avoidable or the just deserts of a life long smoker.
NotAsleep
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
I don't think it is considered a vaccine if it can't prevent the disease from forming. Why would it only work on patients with stage 3/4 lung cancer? Cancers may metastasize but it's still the same type of cell that was attacking you when you had stage 1/2 cancer.

It obviously isn't working very well if lung cancer is still the leading cause of death in most of Cuba
neiorah
not rated yet Sep 19, 2011
I agree that the term vaccicine is not appropriate for this drug. If someone could use it at the beginning of the cancer to keep it from getting worse instead right before you lose your lungs then it would be a good thing to develop. I think that instead of using a drug to help people with any kind of cancer, maybe we should work on creating our own organs to replace those that are bad. Stem cells, cloning whatever. Then maybe instead of talking about political affiliation we could focus on something that can really benefit everyone at any stage of cancer before it spreads.
neiorah
not rated yet Sep 19, 2011
Sorry I spelled vaccine wrong :b