FDA Approves CIMAVax-EGF for Clinical Trial
According to the American Cancer Society, “lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women; about 1 out of 4 cancer deaths are from lung cancer. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.” Because lung cancers are often times terminal, it’s important we find a cure. That is why in 2015, Roswell Park Cancer Institute made a deal with Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM) to bring the cancer drug CIMAVax to the United States for a clinical trial.
Today, CIMAVax was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for clinical trials at Roswell Park and the first trial is scheduled to begin in 30 days. Roswell announced “this trial will enroll approximately 60 to 90 patients with advanced (Stage IIIB/IV) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease has progressed during or after first-line systemic chemotherapy, including targeted therapy.”
Lung cancer is so deadly because there is an increased risk of the recurrence. The vaccine was originally developed in Cuba, where lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death. It targets recurring cancer by generating a natural protein that tells the immune system to attack a hormone called epidermal growth factor (EGF). EGF is the driving force behind most recurring cancers. If CIMAVax works as expected, and the EGF is neutralized, recurring lung cancer will become much more treatable.
Dr. Candace Johnson, the CEO of Roswell Park stated in a news conference, “the lung cancer vaccine developed by the Center for Molecular Immunology team represents a creative, unique approach to treating and perhaps preventing cancer, and we are enormously proud that Roswell Park expects to be the first U.S. institution to be able to offer it to select patients.” She also explained in layman’s terms how the drug works. "The whole basis for it is that these lung cancer cells are addicted to this growth factor. They need it to survive. It's like their food. So we're going to immunize you against producing this growth factor. And every time a tumor cell needs this growth factor, your immune response is going to kick in. Stop it and the tumor will die. And it works. That's the beauty of it."
If you are interested in signing up for this clinical trial at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, you can see the eligibility requirements at: https://www.roswellpark.org/cancer-vaccine.
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