Materia Medica Malaysiana

April 8, 2008

Clinical Trials To Treat Lung Cancer

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:53 am

KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 (Bernama) — Soon, Cuba will not only be world famous for its cigars but also for a very promising vaccine meant to treat lung cancer and possibly other solid cancers.
Cuban Centre of Molecular Immunology Project Manager Dr Gisela Gonzalez Marinello stated that around 200-350 patients have been treated in Cuba with the vaccine during its clinical trial period and this has proven successful.
“The vaccine helps prolong the life of the patient. Sixty percent of the patients treated with the vaccine have a continued lifespan of 12 months in comparison to only six to seven months with only chemotherapy.
“Another 30 per cent of the patients treated have survived up to an amazing 22 months to two years while an astounding 10 per cent have managed to continue living a good life for five to six years.
“Best of all, there are very minimal side effects unlike chemotherapy. There have been no reports of hair loss or organ damage. However, since it is still in the clinical trial stage, we are still treating our patients together with chemotherapy,” said Dr Marinello in an interview with Bernama here Monday.
To top it off, Malaysia has become the next clinical testing ground after Cuba, United Kingdom and Canada since September last year.
Bioven Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Dr W. Shermal Perera and Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir were instrumental in bringing the vaccine down for Malaysia’s very first clinical trial organised by a Malaysian biotech company.
“We are currently testing the vaccine on 10 hospitals throughout the country. We hope we are able to find more patients willing to test the vaccine because the more patients we have, the faster will the vaccine go out to the market,” said Dr Perera.
“We are also very excited because this is the first time Malaysia will go through a clinical trial period organised by a Malaysian company. We also have Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir and Cuban Ambassador, His Excellency Signor Carlos A Ramores to thank for because they’ve helped us bring this product down.
“Should we succeed with Malaysia and the clinical trials are approved by the regulatory bodies, our next plan is to go into Europe to conduct the trials there,” he added.
Dr Perera has also confirmed that Bioven would absorb all costs for the treatment of patients using the vaccine which amounted to seven to eight million Ringgit during the clinical trial period.
Hermanus Ameijeiras Hospital (Cuba) Clinical Oncologist Dr Elia Neninger, who has been treating patients with the vaccine, reported that many patients and their respective families have responded very positively and have high hopes on the vaccine’s application.
“You can see hope again in their faces. They know they will have a better and longer lifestyle. The vaccine creates an immune response in preventing the growth of cancer cells by blocking the epidermal growth factor.
“The immune response is the main factor for the very minimal side effects because the human body naturally blocks the cancer growth,” stated Dr Neninger.
As to the vaccine’s effectiveness in becoming a preventive medicine for cancer, Dr Neninger explained that no test had been done to evaluate its effects.
“First of all, we do not want to tamper with the human body. The epidermal growth factor is normal in human beings. Cancer patients, however, have an excessive epidermal growth, thus we put a stop to it to ensure their longevity,” explained a very stern Dr Neninger with the concurrence of her colleagues, Dr Marinello and Dr Perera.
Ambassador Ramores, who attended the interview, added that this clinical trial period that Malaysia had undergone would be extremely good in strengthening ties between the two countries.
“We are very happy to have been able to help Malaysia in conducting its first clinical trials. This signifies that Malaysia and Cuba can correlate and work together.
“We hope this relationship will continue for the mutual benefit of both countries,” said Ramores.
According to Dr Perera, local experts who are administering the vaccine on their patients were very enthusiastic with the results.
He then added that any lung cancer patients willing to try this vaccine can contact the call centre at 1-800-88-7007 and ask for Dr Veronica Chelia.
“However, please remember, this is still a test drug. It is still in its testing phase. It has not been registered in this country yet though it has been registered in Cuba,” reminded Dr Perera.
The vaccine was developed by Cuban scientists since 1992.

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