Cuba is leading the way in lung cancer vaccines

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Cuba Leading The Way In Lung Cancer Vaccines

The nation famously known for its high-quality cigars, may soon, oddly enough, be known for its superior lung cancer treatments.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York finalized an agreement with Cuba's Center for Molecular Immunology last month to develop CimaVax - a drug that's already on the market in Cuba and has treated roughly 1,000 people with lung cancer.

The vaccine isn't preventative, according to Pop Science, but attacks a patient's already-existing cancer.

Wired reports that a 2008 trial showed lung cancer patients who received the vaccine lived an average of four to six months longer than those who didn't.

And that's not the only cancer-fighting drug that could come out of the country. A biologist at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has been working on another therapeutic vaccine with the Center for Molecular Immunology called Racotumomab.

During the 55-year rift between the U.S. and Cuba, Fidel and Raul Castro made big breakthroughs in preventive medicine - The National Immunization Program currently protects children from 13 disease including polio, hepatitis and meningitis B.

The U.S. stands to benefit from Cuba's help in treating lung cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the deadliest cancer in America.

But Congress still needs to lift the Cuban embargo before more extensive collaborative research can be done.

For photos of Cuba, check out the slideshow below:

6 PHOTOS
Tourists flock to Cuba
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Cuba is leading the way in lung cancer vaccines
People watch the Havana Challenge regatta from the Malecon (coastline avenue, esplanade and seawall) in Havana on May 19, 2015. The Havana Challenge is the first regatta authorized by the US since 2004 and the first to be held after the announcement of the process of normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States. AFP PHOTO / YAMIL LAGE (Photo credit should read YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - FEBRUARY 28: Tourists take in the sites from a double decker tour bus of Havana a day after the second round of diplomatic talks between the United States and Cuban officials took place in Washington, DC on February 28, 2015 in Havana, Cuba. The dialogue is an effort to restore full diplomatic relations and move toward opening trade. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - FEBRUARY 28: Vintage American automobiles are seen on the street as their owners wait for tourists wanting a ride a day after the second round of diplomatic talks between the United States and Cuban officials took place in Washington, DC on February 28, 2015 in Havana, Cuba. The dialogue is an effort to restore full diplomatic relations and move toward opening trade. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - FEBRUARY 27: People mill about as they enjoy wine, food and cigars during the closing gala night for the week-long International Habano Cigar Festival on February 27, 2015 in Havana, Cuba. The annual cigar festival attracted tourists from around the world to sample the islands world renowned tobacco. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - FEBRUARY 25: Tourists take a drive through the Revolutionary Square on February 25, 2015 in Havana, Cuba. The recent thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations has increased the number of American visitors to the island. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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