CHIPSA Looks Into Cuban Lung Cancer Vaccine United States Is Studying

lung cancer

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) embarked on a historic trade mission in April and came back with something that could save thousands of lives: a lung cancer vaccine developed in Cuba.

CimaVax, a vaccine for treating lung cancer, is coming to the United States for clinical trials. The vaccine was thoroughly studied for a quarter of a decade in Cuba before it was released to the Cuban public four years ago. Last month, the country’s Center of Molecular Immunology closed an agreement with Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York to allow importation into the United States for clinical trial.

The co-leader of the Tumor Immunotherapy and Immunology Program at Roswell Park, Dr. Kelvin Lee, stated in a recent interview that they are still at the very early stages of verifying the potential of the vaccine. He noted that results of the vaccine have been remarkable in clinical trials taking place in Europe and Cuba. Dr. Lee is currently the Jacobs Family Chair in Immunology at Roswell Park.

President Barack Obama allowed for these types of joint research projects when he modified the country’s 55-year long trade ban against Cuba last December. Similar programs would not have been permitted just a few short years ago without this change in the country’s trade policies.

It is not surprising that lung cancer is the fourth leading cause of death in Cuba. In a country known for its top quality cigars, lung cancer may be expected to be a major public health problem. The impressive results of CimaVax on Cuban lung cancer patients has been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The journal explains that the wonder drug has been proven effective in lung cancer patients under the age of 60. These patients in particular have a higher possibility of survival. Nevertheless, the drug is also effective on older patients. A study on lung cancer patients in stages IIIB and IV showed improvement in the production of tumor-reducing antibodies in over half of the patients and reinforced the vaccine’s safety.


In a recent interview, Dr. Lee admitted that this vaccine may be the solution in further preventing cancer from recurring, or better yet, from developing. “There’s good reason to believe that this vaccine may be effective in both treating and preventing several types of cancer, including not only lung but breast, colorectal, head-and-neck, prostate and ovarian cancers, so the potential positive impact of this approach could be enormous,” he added.

Despite the astonishing results of the vaccine, Dr. Lee emphasized that CimaVax does not cure cancer. In other words, a person cannot just continue smoke and take the vaccine without fear of cancer. The vaccine works by affecting the proteins which aid in the growth of the tumor. The vaccine targets the tumor itself, but does not prevent the tumor from forming in the first place.

Currently, the two countries are working collaboratively to ensure that the vaccine will safely and effectively help those suffering from lung cancer. There is hope that in the next few years, CimaVax will progress beyond clinical trials and establish its place in the pharmaceutical industry.

CHIPSA Hospital is in the early stages of studying the vaccine for lung cancer treatment. Plans include a closer look at the vaccine and its efficacy in the country of Cuba. CHIPSA Hospital began treating patients through various immunological treatments in 1979, well before immunotherapy became a more widely-accepted form of treatment. With 37 years of experience at the forefront of innovative treatments, CHIPSA recognizes the promise of vaccines like CimaVax.

To see CHIPSA’S immunological treatment page click here.