FDA approves 'CimaVax' trial at Roswell Park

BUFFALO, N.Y. - BUFFALO, NY -  Roswell Park has received approval from the U.S. Federal Drug Administration to conduct the first-ever U.S. based clinical trial of the lung cancer vaccine called 'CimaVax'.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Treasury has given the go-ahead for a trade mission between Cuba and the U.S. that will help facilitate this trial. 

Governor Cuomo was in Buffalo for the announcement Wednesday. 

Roswell CEO Dr. Candace Johnson and Governor Cuomo went on a trip to Cuba last year.  During the visit, Roswell signed an agreement with Cuban pharmaceutical company CIM to bring its experimental lung cancer vaccine to the U.S.

"With this landmark clinical trial, Roswell Park, America's First Cancer Center, becomes the first American institution to give CimiVax to patients," Dr. Johnson said. "We're the first center to get permission to sponsor for the U.S. testing of any Cuban medical therapy, to bring Cuban science to the U.S." 

A lot of the conversation at Wednesday's announcement was about the "New Buffalo" and how this new venture is a perfect manifestation of that, putting Buffalo on the cusp of world-renowned cancer research. 

The venture will attract patients from all over the world and expand global access for Buffalo. 

Here's what Dr. Johnson had to say about the vaccine itself earlier this year.

"The whole basis for it is that these lung cancer cells are addicted to this growth factor. They need it to survive. It's like their food. So we're going to immunize you against producing this growth factor. And every time a tumor cell needs this growth factor, your immune response is going to kick in. Stop it and the tumor will die. And it works. That's the beauty of it."

The clinical trial is expected to kick off within 30 days. 


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