therapeutic vaccine for lung cancer
BY IRIS ARMAS
THE first therapeutic vaccine for the treatment
of advanced lung cancer has been registered in Cuba,
the only one for this type of malignancy world-wide,
reported the national news agency, AIN.
Named CIMAVAX EGF, the antigen has been shown to
be effective, extending patients’ survival and
quality of life, said the doctor of biological
science, Gisela González, manager of the project.
The expert explained to the press that the drug
was developed at the Molecular Immunology Center (CIM),
one of the flagship institutions within Havana’s
The first clinical trial was conducted in Cuba in
1995 with more than 400 patients with advanced lung
cancer who had previously received conventional
treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy,
The drug’s positive effects include a decrease or
disappearance of shortness of breathe, weight gain,
better appetite and controllable pain, allowing
patients to participate in social life, she said.
She explained that the vaccine which provokes an
immune system response and does not have serious
side-effects, is composed of two proteins, one from
epidermal growth factor and the other, P-64 K, from
cell membrane, both produced through DNA
recombination methods by the Genetic Engineering and
González indicated that five Phase I trials have
been conducted and two Phase II trials, one in Cuba
and another in Canada and England.
The results of the Phase II trials showed
clinical benefits for patients, as compared with
those who did not receive the vaccine, leading to a
registration request to the Cuban regulatory agency.
González announced that in 11 hospitals within
the country, a Phase III clinical trial is being
conducted with 579 patients and that in August of
this year Phase II trials will begin in Peru and
subsequently in China.
Dr. Tania Crombet, director of clinical research
for CIM emphasized that Cuban scientists are
investigating CIMAVAX EGF for other epidemoid (solid)
cancers and have demonstrated its effectiveness in
cases of neoplasia of the lung, head, neck, brain,
stomach, breast, rectum, prostrate, cervix, bladder,
ovary and pancreas.
Cuba began studies of the new vaccine in 1992
which included pre-clinical trials with laboratory
animals and, in 1995, conducted the first clinical