Cuba finds diabetes ulcer, cancer drugs

Cuba is seeking a business partner to promote its innovative treatment of diabetic foot ulcers, called Heberprot-P.

Its developer, the Cuban Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), hopes to find a partner to fund test trials in the United States.

“A license to launch clinical trials in the United States was granted last year, but it hasn’t been done because we are seeking a good business partner,” microbiologist Carmen Acosta, sales manager at Heber Biotec, a state-run company in charge of commercializing CIGB products, told Xinhua.

Heberprot-P, which is injected into diabetes-related wounds, has proven to be very effective.

In fact, the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) describes it as a “novel product” and “a unique therapy for the most complicated and recalcitrant chronic wounds usually associated with high amputation risk.”

The NCBI notes “further testing and deployment worldwide of Heberprot-P would provide an opportunity to assess the product’s potential to address an important unmet medical need.”

“This is a project that requires a very large investment, because Heberprot-P is not just an injection, but a medical technology that accompanies the use of the product,” Acosta said.

She said that doctors need to be trained in how to apply the therapy, which was registered in Cuba in 2006, included in the National Basic Medications List, approved for marketing in 2007, and subsequently registered in 23 other countries.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved the launch of clinical trials for another Cuban medical innovation: Cimavax, a vaccine against lung cancer.

“There is a lot of expectation about the possibility of doing business with the U.S. market,” said Acosta, referring to the eventual sale of Heberprot-P in the United States.

The U.S. market is both huge and close to Cuba. Some 90,000 amputations are carried out annually at U.S. hospitals.

Heberprot-P’s widespread use in Cuba has reduced the incidence of amputations by some 70 percent.

Internationally, the therapy is available in Russia, Argentina, Venezuela, Turkey, Colombia, Ecuador, Ukraine and Vietnam among other countries, and has benefited nearly 250,000 patients.

The unique therapy received the Gold Medal from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Some 300 million people around the world suffer from diabetes, and that number could reach 450 million, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)

NAN, November 7, 2016

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