Question: My husband has stage 4 lung cancer with metastasis. We would like information on the new cancer medication / treatment in Cuba and names and contact information for Cuban hospitals providing this treatment.
Answer: Recently, Cuba registered the first therapeutic vaccine for advanced lung cancer and its effectiveness for other tumors (prostate, uterus and breast) is being tested. Called CimaVax-EGF, reports say that the drug acts directly on the tumor, converting it into a chronic disease under control, rather than attacking healthy along with infected cells – as occurs with chemotherapy and radiation.
In Cuba, the drug is being administered after conventional therapy has been applied, and when a terminally ill patient is considered to have no therapeutic alternatives. Note: it is not a miracle drug that promises a cure, although clinical studies have shown that it provides some relief and modestly extends the survival rate.
CimaVax-EGF was developed by the Cuban Centre for Molecular Immunology and the Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Centre after 15 years of research. International reports from mid-January 2011 indicated that Cuba’s biotechnology industry plans to launch and register the vaccine in the international market in the near future.
In addition to being patented in Cuba, CimaVax-EGF has apparently also been patented in Peru, Canada, Japan, South Africa and the United States, and has undergone several clinical trials in Cuba, Canada and the United Kingdom, with plans to also try it in China and the U.S.
Thus there is reason for cautious optimism.
The main cancer centre in Cuba is the Havana-based Instituto de Oncología y Radiobiología. In addition to having an outstanding record in cancer-based research, treatment and indeed prevention, this hospital is also incorporated into Cuba’s program of Turismo de Salud (Health Tourism), which facilitates overseas patients receiving care.
To enquire about whether or not CimaVax-EGF is being made available to visitors as part of Cuba’s Health Tourism program, contact Turismo de Salud at the Instituto de Oncología y Radiobiología. You can either send an email to the director of this department, Dr. José Andres López Losada, at [email protected] , noting in the subject line “para Dr. Losada, jefe, Turismo de Salud,” or you can call him at his direct office phone number at (537) 832-2202 should you wish to speak with him in person. Below is the address of the Hospital:
Instituto de Oncología y Radiobiología
Esquina a F (esquina = corner)
Vedado – Municipio Plaza
Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba