Four-hundred-thirty-two Americans die from lung cancer each day, but today, there's significant hope that this number will sharply decline, thanks to the president's historic visit to Cuba.
To the shock of American researchers, Cuba has had a solution to lung cancer for decades, and it only costs $1 a person. "CimaVax, which is both a treatment and vaccine for lung cancer, has been researched in Cuba for 25 years and free to the Cuban public since 2011," reported Huffington Post. Now, with the loosened trade embargo, we may soon have access to the treatment here in the US (pending FDA testing approval).
CimaVax inhibits factors that fuel the growth of tumors, by stimulating a build-up of specific, cancer-fighting antibodies. As the vaccine has been approved in both Cuba and Peru, 5,000 patients have already been treated with CimaVax. Patients receiving the treatment live longer than they would with the standard treatment, and the vaccine itself is really cheap — it only costs $1 to make one shot. Because Cuba has faced significant economic hardship over the past several decades, they've been forced to innovate and prevent diseases in unique, cost-effective ways.
The success rate of CimaVax has been significant. "Patients with advanced lung cancers who received the vaccine lived two to four months longer than those who didn't receive it," reported USA Today. The more CimaVax they had, the better, with some having nearly a year of extended life; patients younger than 60 had the best results. This is exciting news for so many reasons, including the fact that the strengthening bond between the US and Cuba could mean teaming up on future medical research endeavors, saving more lives.