US-Cuba Research Partnerships Testing New Cancer Therapies

HAVANA, Sept. 26th Cuban and United States research institutes announced Wednesday they were creating the first joint U.S.-Cuban biotech venture to be headquartered on the island to bring new cancer therapies to U.S. patients.

The Innovative Immunotherapy Alliance SA is the fruit of a three-year partnership between the Roswell Park Cancer Institute of Buffalo, New York, and Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology, and began following the historic 2014 U.S.-Cuban detente.

Although U.S. President Donald Trump has partially unraveled the progress made by his predecessor President Barack Obama and Former Cuban President Raul Castro during that time, projects undertaken during that rapprochement have continued apace.

The new joint venture will be headquartered in Cuba’s Special Development Zone, offering companies tax cuts and other incentives, and located at Mariel Bay just west of Havana, according to Cuban media.

Roswell Park also announced Wednesday that initial results from a clinical trial of a Cuban-developed vaccine to extend the lives of lung cancer patients was “safe, well tolerated and worthy of further study.”

Roswell Park has raised $4 million in donations to fund the clinical trials of the CimaVax EGF drug.

That vaccine and three further immunotherapy treatments developed in Cuba will be included in the Innovative Immunotherapy Alliance’s portfolio of products, Prensa Latina said. In the first few years, the joint venture will focus on clinical trials for those treatments to demonstrate their safety and efficacy, with the aim of eventually exporting them to the United States, the agency added.
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