Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 29, 2007

Cuban Anti-Cancer Vaccine To Be Clinically Tested In Malaysia

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:39 am

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 (Bernama) — A therapeutic anti-cancer vaccine being developed by Cuban scientists is expected to give new hopes for patients in the advanced stage of lung cancer in terms of a longer survival rate and better quality of life.
Known as Epiderma Growth Factor (EGF), the vaccine, discovered by Dr Gisela Gonzalez Marinello of the Centre of Molecular Immunology in Cuba in 1992, will be clinically trial-tested in Malaysia for the first time.
Dr Gonzalez, who is also its project manager, said 230 advanced stage lung cancer patients had been identified in 12 hospitals to participate in the clinical tests in what could be a landmark trial for the drug.
She said based on previous clinical trials in Cuba, Canada and United Kingdom, the vaccine had demonstrated its ability to promote longer survival rates of up to six months, and up to two years in some cases, while helping to improve the quality of life among lung cancer patients who responded to the vaccine.
She told Bernama in an interview here that the EGF was safe, had no prolonged side effects and could be used in tandem with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Dr Gonzalez stressed that the vaccine was not a cure for cancer but helps to fight against the growth of cancerous cells, adding that it was administered through monthly injections on four different parts of a patient’s body.
Set to begin in May, the clinical trial in Malaysia is expected to take about two-and-a-half years and is being sponsored by Bioven Sdn Bhd, a local company specializing in advanced technology and life sciences.
Bioven chief executive officer Dr W. Shermal Perera, who was present at the interview, said the clinical trial would be monitored by the Cancer Research Centre of the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.
“This clinical trial in Malaysia is important to us because the data collected will be used to penetrate Europe and other countries,” he said.
Bioven has the intellectual property rights for EGF here and in Southeast Asia.
Dr Perera said: “We have bought the licence and the patent has been assigned to us. We have the rights for Europe, Australia, Japan and New Zealand as well.” EGF, now in the process of getting registered in Cuba, is expected to be marketed in that country in the next few months.
“In Malaysia, we hope to get it approved and register within the next three years,” he added.
He said if the clinical trials went well, Malaysia would become the second country after Cuba to have the drug.
He also urged lung cancer patients keen on the clinical trial to contact the company.

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