Cuba on the way to turning cancer into a chronic disease
News from Cuba | Tuesday, 5 February 2013
Despite the demonic and inhumane blockade against Cuba for decades, this Caribbean nation has been heroically developing and forging new methodologies in public healthcare using the resources available, and also, exporting its wisdom to developing countries, providing excellent healthcare and educational services.
Cuba's "strong primary healthcare system" is referred to by the World Health Organization's recent communication on the introduction of biotechnology in cancer treatment in Cuba, following the WHO's guidelines and implementing a national cancer plan which provides universal access to all approaches, from prevention, diagnosis, treatment and palliative care.
According to the WHO in its article "Cuba- Battling cancer with biotechnology" on the WHO website, "The plan is underpinned by a strong primary health care system that enables doctors to see their patients regularly and catch health problems at an early stage.
The article refers to the Cuban government's Centre for Molecular Immunology, a "major investment in biotechnology" and states that "Cuban researchers and scientists have recently made significant progress in their search for new cancer treatments and tools to improve diagnosis and prevention". Among these was the register in 2008 of the first vaccine for therapeutic treatment of advanced lung cancer developed by the Centre for Molecular Immunology, Havana. In 2013, a second vaccine for treatment of advanced lung cancer was patented.
The General Director of the Centre for Molecular Immunology, Dr. Agustin Lage Davila, states that "Biotechnology is key to transforming cancer from a deadly disease into a chronic one" and adds that the new technologies support chemo and radio therapy making them less toxic.
The same centre has developed the drug nimotuzumab, an anti-cancer therapy which attacks advanced tumours in the head, neck and brain. It is a monoclonal antibody which targets specific molecules of cancer cells, imitating the human immune cells. The molecules it targets are the protein which causes uncontrolled growth of cells.
According to the WHO, "today the Cuban biotech industry holds around 1,200 international patents and markets pharmaceutical products and vaccines in more than 50 countries". For Dr. José Luís Di Fábio, Director of the WHO country office in Cuba, "The tremendous benefit from this focus on health biotechnology is that it is producing more affordable drugs to tackle diseases that run rampant in low- and middle-income countries".
Let us now imagine what Cuba could do without the inhuman stranglehold the USA has around its neck.