Cuban scientists on Tuesday unveiled a therapeutic lung cancer vaccine which they say is the first in the world and extends the lives of victims by up to five months.
Gisela Gonzalez at the Havana Molecular Immunological Center, where the unveiling was held, said that research on the Cimavax EGF vaccine began in 1992, with the first clinical test in 1995.
It is the first registered vaccine in the world designed to battle lung cancer, said Gonzalez, who heads the medical team that developed the compound.
The vaccine, based on two proteins, triggers an immune response from the victim's body and has no side effects, Gonzalez said.
The research team's director of clinical investigations, Tania Crombet, said that the vaccine serves as a compliment to conventional methods like chemotherapy and radiotherapy, allowing cancer victims to live between four and five months longer, and improves their breathing and decreases their pain.
The vaccine is available in Cuba, and will be commercialized in Latin America, starting in Peru, Gonzalez said.
Advanced tests are currently underway with 579 lung cancer victims at 18 Cuban hospitals. Other tests were carried out in Canada, Britain, while tests are scheduled in Malaysia, Peru, and China, Gonzalez added.
In Buenos Aires, an Argentine-Cuban consortium announced in February that a study of the Cuban vaccine is underway involving more than 700 patients in six countries, including India and Singapore.