Cuban scientists in the past have developed four cancer treatment vaccines made by the Havana Centro de Inmunología Molecular (CIM or Center for Molecular Immunology) whose products were exhibited at the 29th Havana International Fair in 2011.
Dr. Patricia Piedra and Giselle Suárez (contact information below) offered a detailed explanation of four products that the CIM has registered in more than two dozen countries and that have opened a hope for cancer patients. Cancer in Cuba causes more than 20 thousand deaths annually. Piedra and Suárez are part of the marketing team of biopharmaceutical products Cimab SA, exclusive representative of the CIM, which developed new biological medicines for the treatment of cancer and other diseases.
The two experts explained that these products are divided into so-called support, which seek to reduce the harmful effects of radio and chemotherapy, and, specifically, targeting tumors, which have the highest anti-tumor response. The specifics are CIMAher, also known as Nimotuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody for the treatment of head and neck cancer, and CIMAVax, a therapeutic vaccine that is administered to adult patients with lung tumors. Supporting agents are Epocim, recombinant human erythropoietin, which is used in the treatment of anemia, chronic renal failure, AIDS and cancer patients under chemotherapy, and LeukoCIM, the granulocytic colony stimulating factor which is administered to people who undergo Cytotoxic chemotherapy of malignant diseases.
“Other vaccines against various types of cancer, such as breast, cervical and colorectal cancer, and against diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, are at different stages of development at the CIM,” said Cimab CEO Norkis Arteaga.
The specialist said that quality, safety and efficacy of the products developed, along with successful commercial management, endorse this company, “which has the privilege of driving the achievements of Cuban biotechnology to a complex market controlled by large transnationals.”
Located on the outskirts of the Cuban capital, the CIM works in basic research, development and manufacture of products from the culture of mammalian cells. Its work has been going for more than 30 years.
Almost a thousand scientists and engineers have been working in the field of monoclonal antibodies since 1980 with the aim of finding new products for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and diseases related to the immune system. The basic research projects are focused on the immunotherapy of cancer, especially in the development of “molecular vaccines”, antibody and cellular engineering, bioinformatics and regulation of the immune response.
The center is housed in a sober two-story building, which combines glass, steel and concrete, designed to give maximum protection to a productive area governed by the strict regulations of so-called good manufacturing practices.
Currently, the CIM has a joint venture in China, with Biotech Pharmaceutical Ltd that has the capacity for the manufacture of a monoclonal antibody for the treatment of cancer patients. It also formed the Cimym Bioscience joint venture in Canada, focused on the development of Nimotuzumab. In Spain they have Recombio, which researches and develops innovative products aimed at the immunotherapy of chronic diseases.
CIM, Centro de Inmunología Molecular
Calle 216, esquina 15, Atabey, Playa, C P 16040, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba firstname.lastname@example.org Dr Arlhee Diaz-Miqueli email@example.com
Tel.: +53-7-271-5057 ext. 127; Fax: +53-7-272-0644 Dra. Patricia Piedra firstname.lastname@example.org CIMAB S.A, 206.No.1926 e/19 and 21, Atabey, Playa, Havana City, Cuba 11600 Tel.: +53-7-271-5057 ext. 111