Cuba, long known for its stellar doctors, has planted its flag on cutting-edge cancer treatment.
Researchers at Cuba's Center of Molecular Immunology announced last week that the therapeutic vaccine CimVax EGF extends life with few side effects.
The drug is in various clinical trials in Great Britain and Canada, with more studies scheduled in Malaysia, Peru and China, Gonzalez said.
The drug has been approved for clinical trials in the United States, but its use there is at least two years away, said Gisela Gonzalez, who headed the vaccine's development.
Tania Crombet, the research team's director of clinical investigations, said the vaccine compliments conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy methods, extending life, improving breathing and reducing pain.
"It's possible to provide this vaccine to any patient," she said. "Because it's available in Cuba, it's approved by the Cuban drug agency, we can receive patients from outside."
Several companies have been licensed to market the vaccine but it will be produced in Cuba, the scientists said.
Produced in Cuba? So the US will have to break the embargo, end the embargo, or violate Cuba's patent. I vote for ending it, obviously.
Side note: the US seriously needs to revamp its drug-approval protocols, especially for drugs related to fatal diseases. Other nations put a much higher priority on getting medicine to patients who need it -- and when we're talking about patients who need it so badly they're willing to take some chances, people for whom the status quo means being dead in less than a year, it really is absurd to withhold new medicines.
In this case, though, I worry that the treatment's country of origin might slow things up even more. Patients have been getting louder in recent years, but I think it's time to turn it up to 11.