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A vaccine that Cuban scientists extends the lives of lung cancer patients
The drug, CimaVax EGF, has been shown to increase survival rates on average four to five months and much longer in some patients, they said in a news conference at Cuba's Center of Molecular Immunology.

In contrast to chemotherapy, the traditional treatment for lung cancer, they said CimaVax EGF has few side effects because it is a modified protein that attacks only cancer cells. They said it was the first lung cancer vaccine to be approved anywhere in the world, although there are others currently being tested.

"It's the first vaccine for lung cancer registered in the world," said Gisela Gonzalez, who headed the development of the vaccine, begun in 1992.

The drug is in various stages of clinical trials in a number of other countries and is most likely to be approved next in Peru, where it could be publicly available by year's end, Gonzalez said.

Tania Crombet, director of clinical investigations at Havana's molecular immunology center, said people from outside Cuba can come to the island for treatment.

"It's possible to provide this vaccine to any patient, because it's available in Cuba, it's approved by the Cuban drug agency so we can market the vaccine in Cuba and we can receive patients from outside," she said.

Cuba's state-run biotechnology sector includes around 50 research and development centers and is considered one of the most advanced in the developing world.


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