Cuban and American Researchers Partner to Develop Lung Cancer Vaccine

posted: 05/12/15
by: Danny Clemens
The Havana, Cuba skyline at dusk.
Ian Shive/DCL

Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York recently announced a partnership with Cuba's Center for Molecular Immunology to execute clinical trials of a promising new lung cancer vaccine in the United States.

Representatives from Roswell Park traveled to Cuba at the end of April to ratify an agreement with CIM representatives, the first New York state trade mission to Cuba in recent history. Now that an official agreement has been signed, Rowell Park can apply to hold an FDA-sanctioned clinical trial in the United States.

The vaccine is already in use in Cuba; according to a news release, it has "shown promise" in controlling lung cancer. Researchers hope that it can also be used to prevent the disease, which is responsible for over 150,000 deaths annually in the United States.

The move reflects easing tensions between Cuba and the United States, which has held an economic embargo against the island nation for over 50 years. Throughout the world, Cuba is renowned for its healthcare system and international medical diplomacy. Since 1962, the island nation has successfully eradicated poliomyelitis, diphtheria, measles and rubella. Additionally, The Toronto Star reports that Cuba sends more medical aid to developing countries "than the entire G8 combined".

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