Lung Cancer Vaccine to Come to the US

Cuba are currently carrying out Stage 3 clinical trails on a $1 vaccination that targets epidermal growth factor (EGF) has provided promising results in small studies. CimaVax could be an encouraging treatment for patients with non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Lung cancer is responsible for 27% of all cancer deaths – more than colon, breast, and prostate cancer combined, and this vaccine is a long awaited advancement in cancer therapy.
How Does It Work?
The vaccine targets the naturally occuring epidermal growth factor (EGF). This protein attaches to the receptor proteins on cell surfaces and signals for the cell to grow and divide. Some cancers cause the body to overproduce EGF, meaning cells begin to grow and divide uncontrollably. The vaccine stimulates an immune response, creating antibodies to bind to EGF, and preventing it’s attachment to the receptors on cancer cells, therefore slowing its growth.
Previous Trials A few small trials have resulted in some promising evidence supporting the efficacy of CimaVax. One randomized control study investigated 80 individuals who had been diagnosed with stage 3b and 4 who were administered complete chemotherapy treatment before half of the sample group were given the vaccine. The objectives of these phase 2 trials were to determine if the vaccine improved life expectancy, as well as observing side effects and immune responses.
This results of this study suggested that those who used the vaccine lived 4 to 6 months longer, on average. It also decreased unpleasant symptoms such as coughing and breathlessness. The side effects were few and mild, with the most commonly reported being chills, fever and nausea.
The Future of CimaVax
CimaVax is currently available for free to all Cuban citizens and it is hoped that the US FDA will soon approve plans to enter the vaccine into a phase 1 study. If successful, CimaVax could be used to treat other cancers that function using the same mechanisms, such as breast and pancreatic cancer.
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