Cancer Surgery Techniques and Novel Cancer Vaccines Procedures in Cuba
CUBA ONCOLOGY NEWS:
80% kids with leukemia cured
In Cuba, there is annually an average of 80 new cases and 75 percent of them are acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL), which is the most frequent in that age group and there is fortunately treatment to cure it, while improvement reaches 98 percent. Cuba has a national network for the treatment of malignant hematological diseases in children and it is distributed in seven institutions over the island, two of them in Havana and the rest in provincial capitals. Results that Cuba shows are also due to the introduction of last generation chemotherapy treatments. Most of the treatments for patients with leukemia are imported, some of them with availability problems, because this disease is very expensive, both for medications and supportive therapy. For Cubans the treatment is totally free; but anywhere else a patient with that condition can annually spend U$ 30,000 to 60,000 that depends on type of leukemia, and if a transplant is included, the cost of treatment would grow extremely higher.
New skin cancer medication available nationwide
Heberferon, unique Cuban drug of its kind in the world for treatment of basal cell carcinoma of skin, is already available in national health system. More than 400 patients in Cuba have benefited from the drug produced, which combines the action of two interferons to inhibit tumor growth and eliminate or reduce lesions, including those that are complex, multiple and in advanced stages.Cuban researchers explain that although the evaulation period can be considered short, a favorable impact on the quality of life of patients with the most frequent tumors was evident with the use of Heberferon. Among most encouraging results is the possibility of reducing the need to mutilate sections of skin in places as complicated as the head, when carcinoma is located near vital orifices such as eyes, nose, mouth and ears, or when it has a wide extension. A finding that will allow the extension of the research lines is the systemic effect that it causes, that is, it works not only around the lesion but also at an organic level, with benefits for patients with multiple carcinomatosis and extended lesions.
The Cuban pharmaceutical industry hardly uses money for publicity, which in the case of multi-national corporations this activity surpasses the budgets dedicated to doing research. Though Cuba obtains economic revenues from the sales of its products aimed to combat cancer, its research philosophy diametrically opposes the market policies of the big pharmaceutical industry.
As a matter of fact big pharmaceutical companies aim their research not to curing diseases, but to developing products for chronic conditions, which are more economically profitable. These diseases usually found in the poorest nations are not object of research, due to their low profitability, and for this reason 90 per cent of the research budget is dedicated to finding out about the diseases that affect only 10 per cent of the world population. Cuba, in terms of world economies at least, doesn't have a lot of resources and so when it comes to its medical advances it has had to be creative, and the CimaVax vaccine is an example of that.
Cuba is constantly working not only on early detection but also on the development of new drugs to treat the disease. According to recent health authority figures, 67% of all clinical research in Cuba today is aimed at the discovery of effective treatments for different types of cancer. Cuban medical and pharmaceutical industry largely aims its research at developing vaccines to prevent cancer and, as a result, lower the people's medication expenses. In 2012, Cuba patented the first therapeutic vaccine in the world against advanced lung cancer, called CIMAVAX-EGF. In January 2013, the island announced the second cancer vaccine, known as Racotumomab (VAXIRA). Clinical tests, carried out in 86 nations, revealed that though these vaccines do reduce the tumors thus improving the quality and expectancy of life of the patients. Unlike US lung cancer vaccine the Cuban ones treat advanced lung cancer not only in patients whose tumors express protein called PD-L1.
In 2015 Buffalo Roswell Park Cancer Institute struck a deal with the Center for Molecular Immunology in Cuba to bring into the U.S. for study two vaccines developed at the Cuban organization – CIMAVAX EGF and Racotumomab.
Candace Johnson, Roswell Park's chief executive officer described CIMAvax as a vaccine with an "ingenious design" that arose out of necessity in Cuba as a result of meager research budgets. Roswell Park, as part of the agreement with Havana Center for Molecular Immunology, will prepare and file an investigational new drug application with the Food and Drug Administration to gain approval for testing of CIMAvax in the U.S.
A trial of the vaccines in Cuba for patients who failed chemotherapy and radiation found that it significantly increased life expectancy, and larger studies are underway in Cuba and other countries. The vaccines also appear to have few side effects and are inexpensive to produce. The potential improvement in survival in late-stage cancer patients is a matter of months. However the process of larger studies in the US will take years.
Of corse it's not a miracle cure but this is an interesting vaccine because of its novel approach. And, because it has such mild side effects, the possibility of using it for prevention is exciting.
CIMAvax does not shrink tumors. The promise is that it can stop cancer cells from growing by depriving a tumor of an important growth factor, thereby delaying the spread of cancer cells. The immune system is the body's built-in defense against an array of disease-causing invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. Vaccines teach the immune system to fight disease by acting like a real infection. The idea of using the immune system to attack cancer is not new, and a number of different approaches have been tried without success.
Cuban researchers designed the vaccine for non-small cell lung cancer, the most common type. But the concept is applicable to other cancers, such as prostate, breast and colon.
Along with these vaccines, natural and traditional medicine and other alternative medicinal practices have been introduced for years in the island's health sector. In Cuba one can get access to hundreds of advanced clinical studies and techniques not available in other countries, including the latest techniques. And the costs are comparatively affordable.
IMRT: Cuban hospitals are among the pioneers to offer IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy) to the patients. Special type of radiotherapies like Whole Skin Electron Irradiation or Whole Body Irradiation too are carried out. These are carried out in support of the treatment of Leukemia or Skin Lymphoma patients. IMRT is an enormously powerful tool in experienced hands of expert radiation oncologists. Several forms of HPI are being used at Cuban hospitals. The latest development is modulation of radiation intensity with Multi leaf Collimator.
While the FDA stalls on approving cancer treatments available in Cuba with great success, let us introduce you to the latest techniques being used in Cuba.
Affordable chemo and radio treatments.
Complicated and delicate tumor excisions, Brachytherapy, In addition to intra-cavitary and intraluminal treatments. Cuban hospitals use the Iodine 125 permanent Seed Implant Technique using RAPID strand.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy
A non-invasive radiation technique employed to treat various types of intracranial lesions like arteriovenous malformation, meningiomas and acoustic schwamins. This is usually done where risks of open surgery offer unacceptable odds. Linear accelerator assisted stereo tactic radio surgery is a widely accepted form of treatment and is extremely cost-effective. Through this procedure deep seated lesions can be identified, visualized, analyzed and treated precisely.
Bone Marrow Transplantation:
Bone marrow transplants have been performed to treat conditions like acute myeloid leukemia, lymphatic leukemia, myeloma and Hodgkin's disease. Cuban hospitals have performed hi-tech BMT with 80 dedicated beds, the largest in the continent. The BMT units perform both allogenic and auto logous BMTs.
Cord blood cell transplantation:
Utilizing umbical cord blood in the treatment of leukemia and post cancer surgery.
Stem cell based cancer treatments:
Major oncology hospitals send patients overseas and build oncology centers abroad so that their patients can have this promising treatment. In Cuba one can obtain this treatment affordably.
BRAIN TUMOUR SURGERY
Gamma Knife Surgery for a lot less. In Cuba one can also get access to hundreds of clinical studies and techniques not available in other countries, including the latest technique in brain cancer:
Oral Cavity Cancer
Prostate Cancer Treatment in Cuba
According to recent scientific studies, the most important risks for prostate cancer are genetic predisposition and racial predisposition. A man having one first degree male relative with prostate cancer increases their risk by 2-3, having 2 first degree relatives with prostate cancer increases their risk by 4-6. In Cuba nowadays there are a number of alternative treatments to surgery in both the malignant enlargement of prostates and prostate cancer. Cuban scientists are drafting the protocols for the third phase of clinical trials of what is a potential treatment for advanced prostate cancer. Meanwhile any optimistic expectations must be put into perspective.
When urinating problems deteriorate patient's quality of life urologists can recommend a number of different options depending on the degree of the problem. In prostate cancer other approaches like "Monitoring while waiting" and "Active monitoring" can be implemented depending on the person's age, other health problems and life expectations. But decisions on these options can only be made with the informed consent between Urology Specialist and patient.
Have a look at CIMAVAX EGF patients selection criteria we placed in original Spanish. For over 25 years, Cuba's Center of Molecular Immunology had been working on producing a vaccine that could treat non-small cell lung cancer.
Cimavax is that vaccine and has proven to be one of the most effective ways to treat lung cancer that is in the late stages (stage IIIB to IV).
The vaccine works by targeting the protein called epidermal growth factor (EGF). Many cancers will force the body to produce large amounts of EGF which makes the cells grow and divide and unable to control. Cimavax is partially composed of EGF and tells the body to create antibodies which identify and bind to the EGF stopping it from being able to attach to the receptors of the cancer cells. By doing this, Cimavax will cut off the signal that the cancer sends to its cell to grow and divide which in return will slow down the growth of the lung cancer. The Cimavax vaccine does not prevent lung cancer, but it can change patient's condition from life threatening to a chronic and manageable condition.
EARLY DIAGNOSIS IS CRUCIAL FOR TOTAL RECOVERY IN RECTAL CANCER
Colorectal cancer, which becomes more common type of cancer as people's lifestyles gets more modern, ranks third among the most common cancers throughout the world. Early diagnosis saves lives in rectal cancer; when the disease is detected while it is at stage 1 and surgically treated right away, it is possible for the recovery rate to reach 100%.
Rectal cancer has been becoming more and more common due to unhealthy diets, inactivity, excessive weight, harmful habits and stress. Some cancer types have been drawing attention with the speed of the increase in their rates of incidence. Rectal cancer is also one of these! The lowest section of the large intestine, of which the length is 12 to 16 cm, is referred to as the rectum and the malign tumors which originate in this area are collectively referred to as rectal cancer. Rectal cancer is slightly more dangerous than large intestine tumors. Unhealthy diets and environmental factors are among the primary risk criteria for rectal cancer and excessive meat consumption, high amount of fatty foods in diets and insufficient consumption of fruits, vegetables and high-fiber foods pave the way to rectal cancer. Development of rectal cancer can also be due to genetic factors, diseases such as ulcerative colitis and treatment methods applied for other cancers.