Scientists from Cuba are trying to find a cure for cancer with a homeopathic drug prepared from the scorpion venom.
The symposium of "Serving Life", held Sunday at the Camilo Cienfuegos General Hospital in the central city of Sancti Spiritus, showcased its research into scorpion venom with a new drug called Vidatox 30 CH, reported Xinhua.
The homeopathic drug from the venom of the blue scorpion (Rhopalurus junceus), an endemic species in the western part of Cuba, can be used to treat a wide range of cancers such as those of the breast, liver, brain, prostate and lung, participants of the symposium said.
Vidatox, produced by Cuba's Entrepreneurial Group for Bio-Pharmaceutical and Chemical Productions (Labiofam), can help increase survival rates of cancer patients, prevent the spread of cancerous cells and improve the quality of life.
For more than four decades, cancer has been the second leading cause of death in Cuba among all age groups, after death of cardiovascular diseases. About 18,000 people die of cancer in Cuba every year, according to official figures.
More than 27,000 cases of cancer are diagnosed each year, the official daily Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth) cited Sunday Moses Santos, a specialist in internal medicine, as saying.
The disease has become the leading cause of death among children aged 5 to 10, oncologist Jorge Alvarez said.
To combat the disease, Cuba also markets four cancer vaccines developed by the Havana Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM) and exports them to 26 countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The vaccines are divided into "supportive drugs" used to reduce the harmful effects of radiation and chemotherapy, and "specific drugs" designed to fight tumors.