Author: Sara Habibipour
A vaccine for cancer. That doesn’t exist, right? There’s only two types of vaccines that prevent cancer that are approved by the FDA: the HPV and the Hepatitis B vaccines. But, these vaccines don’t target or treat cancer directly.
Well, for quite a few years now, Cuba has actually been in the process of producing a safe, effective, clinically-tested lung cancer vaccine called CIMA-vax.
There are cancer vaccines that exist that target cancer directly, but they have to be personally developed for individual patients. They are indeed effective, but because of the political scene in Cuba with a communist government, limited resources, and trade embargos that prevented them from receiving outside medical treatment, the Cubans simply didn’t have the means to create individual vaccines for each cancer patient. Instead, they had to come up with their own solution.
Unlike other cancer vaccines, CIMA-vax targets a circulating growth factor called EGF (epidermal growth factor) so that it depletes out of the blood and the cancer starves. Because it depletes this growth factor, not only can it treat existing cancer, but it can even prevent cancer from arising in high-risk patients.
CIMA-vax is currently marketed as a lung cancer treatment, but we know that EGF is involved in the development of other types of cancer as well; any cancer that attacks any kind of epithelial cells (breast and pancreatic cancer, to name a couple) could be completely treated and prevented.
Epidermal Growth Factor
The misconception surrounding this vaccine seems to be that because Cuba seems to be “stuck in the ‘50s,” this vaccine isn’t to be taken seriously. While Cuba has been restrained economically, they are notorious for putting a high priority on biomedical research. And, recently, the FDA has approved US clinical trials of CIMA-vax (to learn more about this specific clinical trial process, watch this video).
CIMA-vax seems to be very promising. What do you think about this innovation? Let us know in the comments!