Buenos Aires, June 1 (IANS/EFE) A team of Argentine and Cuban scientists has developed the first therapeutic vaccine for treating lung cancer.
The vaccine does not prevent the tumour, but promotes its destruction by activating the body's immune system, the Insud Group said Friday.
Named Racotumomab, the vaccine was tested in controlled clinical trials and tripled the percentage of lung cancer patients still alive two years after its application.
The vaccine is the result of work by experts at Cuba's Molecular Immunology Institute and of scientists at prestigious Argentine institutions.
More than 90 specialists worked on identifying an antigen and on developing a monoclonal antibody that "by inducing the body to react against this antigen, attacks the tumor and its metastasis, but not the healthy tissue", the Insud Group said in a communique.
The vaccine is indicated in cases of cancer at an advanced stage or with metastasis, in patients who have received chemotherapy and radiation and are in stable condition.
The purpose of such therapy is "to change the paradigm of cancer treatment" to improve patients' quality of life, Hugo Sigman of the Insud Group and founder of the consortium that developed the medication, said.
Lung cancer, considered one of the most deadly forms of the disease, causes close to 1.4 million deaths per year, according to a World Health Organization estimate.
Argentina is the first country in the world where the vaccine will be available starting in July, though it has also been approved in Cuba and is licensed to 25 countries of the Americas and Asia.