News : 2011 : November

Cancer Vaccine, First of Its Kind, to be Tested in Britain


International Business Times
by Ceylan Yeginsu

A cancer vaccine that tackles tumors and out-of-control cells — a first of its kind — will soon enter clinical trials in what researchers hope will transform currently fatal diseases into chronic illnesses.

Unlike preventative flu or polio vaccines given before symptoms show up, doctors administer the therapeutic lung cancer vaccine, known as Cimavaz-EFG, after finding a tumor. While the vaccine doesn’t target the disease directly, the therapy forces the body’s immune system to attack.

“We’re not going to cure [cancer],” said Ricardo Komotar, director of surgical neuro-oncology at University of Miami Hospital. “Our goal is to convert it into a chronic condition like high blood pressure or diabetes that you can live the rest of your life with and live a very normal life.”

Scientists at the Center for Molecular Immunology in Havana, Cuba developed the vaccine over the course of 15 years. More than 1,000 Cuban patients reported good results following initial tests. The vaccine allowed advanced cancer to be controlled by generating antibodies against the proteins that cause uncontrollable cellular proliferation without harming normal tissues in the way that radiation and chemotherapy do, researchers said.