Cuban medical scientists have just developed a new vaccine to help treat lung cancer. The vaccine, called CimaVax-EGF, comes as the result of 25 years of research at Havana's Center for Molecular Immunology. Unlike the cervical cancer vaccine, which shields against the viral infection that leads to cancer, CimaVax-EGF doesn't prevent lung cancer from developing. It's designed to treat patients who are already suffering from the disease. Those who are in the later stages of aggressive lung cancer can now transform their disease from a death sentence into a more manageable chronic illness.
The vaccine works by creating antibodies that counteract the proteins that cause cells to proliferate. It won't get rid of the cancer, but it can help to stop it in its tracks. It's meant to be used alongside the typical treatments of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which help to remove cancer from the body. By fronting a double assault that both stalls and kills cancer cells, new courses of treatment have a much better chance of managing lung cancer.
A thousand patients have already received CimaVax-EGF in test trials. It's been effective enough that Cuban hospitals are now distributing it to more patients--and for free. If the US pharmaceutical industry gets its hands on the vaccine, it'll probably carry a much higher price tag, but such is corporate healthcare. At least Cuban citizens of all walks are getting the benefit of a new breakthrough in medical science, especially considering the popularity of smoking among them.