The United States and Cuba signed a cancer treatment memorandum, opening doors for the two countries to exchange knowledge and best practices to study, monitor and to control cancer — a major health issue in both the nations, according to reports Friday.
Cuban Minister of Public Health Roberto Morales and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell signed the deal in Havana. The move will reportedly facilitate Cuban-developed medicines to be sold in the U.S. after FDA approval.
“We want to move forward on this path,” Burwell said, according to TeleSur. “We want to work on both prevention and detection. We want to determine what the best tools are, improve knowledge of standard treatments and generate a response that will allow us to work on improving the service we provide to our people.”
U.S. health officials are looking forward to CimaVax — the first therapeutic cancer vaccine targeting lung cancer. The vaccine was developed in Cuba’s Center of Molecular Immunology after a 25-year research project and had undergone two trial phases. Lung cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in America with about 224,390 new cases estimated in the country this year, according to the American Cancer Society.
“The reason why it’s exciting is because we don’t have any treatment alternative for patients with recurring lung cancer, it would immediately help a lot of American patients,” Dr. Thomas Schwaab, chief of strategy, business development and outreach at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, told Fox News Latino.
Despite all this, the deal has limitations given the financial and commercial barrier that continues to hurt Cuba after over five decades, according to TeleSur. The island nation presented a report this year, which showed that the U.S. blockade led to the loss of $753.7 billion.