Cuba’s Center of Molecular Immunology, Centro de Inmunología Molecular or CIM, distributes for free (to Cuban citizens) the vaccines to patients with lung cancer. According to experts it is a new treatment, unique in the world, that can slow or stop the progression of the disease, without affecting the quality of life.
In 2012 Cuba’s CIM patented the first lung cancer vaccine, CIMAVAX-EGF, and in January of 2013 the second one, Racotumomab.
“The results of the vaccines increase the survival rate of patients. The vaccines do not eliminate the tumor but slow or stop its growth, allowing patients to live longer with good quality of life and minimal side effects” says Dr Arlhee Diaz of CIM.
The vaccines are not available in the USA because of the embargo but are available in other countries like Peru, Paraguay and Colombia. At the moment the most that can be achieved is that the vaccines are registered in a database in order to exchange views on the treatment of the disease. The Cubans have access to the vaccines at no cost through Cuba’s national health system while foreigners pay a nominal fee.
The Centro de Inmunología Molecular (CIM) in Cuba focuses its work on the research and production of drugs against cancer, the leading cause of death among Cubans. The research began back in 1994 with the production of monoclonal antibodies.
Hopefully, now that relations between Cuba have eased, some restrictions on medical equipment and research will be lifted so that other medical advancements such as this will be made in Cuba.