U.S. Eases Trade Embargo To Obtain Lung Cancer Vaccine From Cuba

Maryam Tajalli
Cimavax's prospects are promising. The vaccine is very cheap and, unlike other cancer treatments shows, little toxicity and side effects.

Cuba’s lung cancer

Cuba’s lung cancer vaccine is not new, however, attempts to bring it to the United States is a recent development.

Made accessible to the Cuban public in 2011, Cimavax  costs a mere $1 per shot but has been provided to the public for free by the Cuban government.

The vaccine has gotten a new wave of attention as the Obama administration recently eased the U.S.-Cuban trade embargo to bring it to Americans.

Agreements have finally been signed between Cuba’s Center of Molecular Immunology and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Cimavax is being introduced in the U.S. and will soon undergo clinical trials to achieve  FDA approval.

The vaccine, however, is not a cure and a lot of research must be done to determine its efficacy in defending people from lung cancer.

“Cimavax probably won’t be a game-changing cancer drug in its current form. The vaccine doesn’t attack tumors directly, instead going after a protein that tumors produce which then circulates in the blood,” explains Wired. Its point is to “keep lung tumors from growing and metastasizing, turning a late-stage growth into something chronic but manageable.”

Its prospects are promising, though. The vaccine is very cheap and, unlike other cancer treatments, shows little toxicity and side effects.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in the year 2015 alone, the country will have over 220,000 cases of lung cancer and 158,040 deaths. Lung cancers account for about 27% of all cancer deaths.

Collaborative research and efficient trials of the vaccine could potentially help change these depressing statistics.