What Is the Cuban Vaccine?
A vaccine is usually designed to strengthen a person’s immune system and produce antibodies against cancer cells, making it easier to fight the disease. Although this vaccine seems like it would work on all patients, it produces antibodies against certain antigens on tumor cells and so it will not be effective in the absence of this antigen in a tumor cell.
To develop a vaccine against a tumor, the tumor must have had many mutations and be rich in neoantigens. The most mutagenic tumors are lung cancer, malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer), bladder tumors and breast cancer. Vaccination trials are being conducted on these cancers.
The Cuban vaccine is essentially a vaccine developed against lung cancer. It can be administered in addition to standard treatments or to patients with lung cancer who do not respond to standard treatments and cannot receive further chemotherapy. Including it in a therapy regimen for five weeks may provide insights into its effectiveness.
If it turns out to be effective, the treatment is continued, otherwise the vaccination is discontinued. The vaccine must be transported in a cold chain. It can be included in treatment regimens as long as it is transported properly in accordance with regulations.
What we know about immunotherapy studies so far is that a group of 10-15% patients responded well to the treatment. Clinical studies on the Cuban vaccine are still ongoing. We arewaiting to hear about the results of some additional studies and alsobiomarkers that will determine which patient groups the vaccine works best for.