Cuba lung cancer CIMAvax vaccine works – you just have to go there to get it

Cuba lung cancer CIMAvax vaccine works – you just have to go there to get it

When relations between the USA and Cuba improved a year or so ago, CANCERactive reported that US drugs companies were rushing to gain a deal with the Cuban company making a lung cancer vaccine that seemed to work.

Unfortunately slow progress is being made. Don’t these Drug companies want to beat cancer? 

But that didn’t deter one American, according to CBC news. US residents are still not allowed to fly direct to Cuba, nor are they allowed to import products from Cuba. So this 65 year old life-time smoker regularly goes to Toronto, and then flies to Cuba for the vaccine.

The vaccine is called CIMAvax, and is credited so far with keeping Wisconsin man Mick Phillips alive for the past five years and his oncologist agrees.

Cuba invested greatly into their own pharmaceutical and biotech industry. CIMAvax was developed for non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC), but can work on other cancers too. That is because it works on Epithelial Growth Factor protein, or EGF, or EGFR. EGF binds to cells and makes them grow. In cancer, the cancer encourages the body to overproduce EGF, thus making the cancer cells grow rapidly. CIMAvax blocks EGF by stimulating the immune system to make proteins that block EGF.

Hence this vaccine is really an immunotherapy, and will work on any cancer where EGF plays a role. In a 2008 Phase II Clinical Trial, involving people with NSCLC who had previously had chemotherapy, CIMAvax extended survival on average by 5 to 8 months. Some people survived much, much longer.

It could be 5-10 years before this is approved in the UK or USA. Yet the drug is sorely needed.


Go to: Overview on Lung Cancer - symptoms, causes and alternative treatments

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