November 4, 2016

Governor Cuomo Announces Groundbreaking Clinical Trial of Cuban-Developed Lung Cancer Treatment at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo


Roswell Park and Havana-Based Center for Molecular Immunology Partnership Established During Governor Cuomo's 2015 Trade Mission to Cuba

First-of-Its-Kind FDA Approved Clinical Trial to Offer Cuban-Developed Therapy 

Letter from Cuban Ambassador José Ramón Cabañas Rodríguez Congratulating Governor Cuomo on Historic Partnership Available Here

Governor Andrew Cuomo announces Roswell Park received FDA approval to conduct first -ever U.S. based clinical trial of lung cancer vaccine, CimaVax, developed in Cuba by Cuban Pharmaceutical Company CIM.(Photo: Gov Cuomo on Flickr)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that the Buffalo-based Roswell Park Cancer Institute will launch a groundbreaking clinical trial of CIMAvax-EGF – a Cuban-developed lung cancer treatment. The announcement comes on the heels of Governor Cuomo’s landmark trade mission to Cuba last year, where he facilitated and secured the first-in-the-nation partnership between Roswell Park and the Havana-based Center of Molecular Immunology. The joint venture makes Roswell Park the first medical institution to receive FDA permission to sponsor testing of a Cuban medical therapy in the United States. The new study – which is the culmination of formal agreements between state, federal and Cuban officials during the historic 2015 trade mission – is expected to begin in November.

“This groundbreaking trial at Roswell Park is the result of our historic partnership with Cuba, and is a testament to New York’s storied legacy as a national leader in progress and innovation,” Governor Cuomo said. “With Roswell Park at the forefront of world-renowned medical research, we are this much closer to making a breakthrough that will combat cancer and save lives. This latest milestone marks another chapter in Buffalo’s success story, and we look forward to seeing the impacts of this partnership resonate in New York and across the nation.”

As the premiere U.S.-Cuban joint business venture licensed to undertake research, development and commercialization of biomedical technology, the Roswell Park-CIM partnership will foster expanded collaboration between the two medical centers. Roswell Park is the nation’s sole site authorized to offer the clinical trial – which is primarily funded through the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The study will take approximately three years to complete and will enroll between 60-90 patients.

In April 2015, Governor Cuomo led a two-day trade mission to Cuba where more than a dozen New York industry leaders convened with Cuban officials to find ways to initiate new economic partnerships as the United States and Cuba began the process of normalizing relations. During the trip, Roswell Park Cancer Institute signed an agreement with Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology to develop a unique lung cancer vaccine with a clinical trial at Roswell Park.

The trade mission facilitated face-to-face connections and enabled the two parties to reach an agreement on the final details – including the testing of the CIMAvax-EGF vaccine for lung cancer, which is already in use in Cuba. The vaccine – the result of over 25 years of study by CIM researchers – has already shown promise in controlling lung cancer, not only in Cuba, but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru. More than 4,000 lung cancer patients have been treated with CIMAvax-EGF in worldwide clinical trials.

The most recent, randomized study conducted by CIM scientists indicates that patients treated with the vaccine have significantly improved overall survival and quality of life compared to lung cancer patients who did not receive the vaccine, and with minimal side effects. Roswell Park researchers believe that CIMAvax-EGF may prove effective in preventing primary lung cancers — and potentially as a treatment for other cancers, such as head and neck, colon, breast, prostate and pancreas cancers.

About Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, RPCI is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org. Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.


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