Cuban scientists share variety of medical advances

Cuban scientists working for the Center of Genetic and Biotechnology Engineering in Havana have come up with a medication that has proved effective in treating diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) and preventing amputations.

The medication has gained patents in countries across the world, according to information sent to Latin Business Daily by Mailyn Palmero, an official from the organization.

“The (Heberprot-P) product has been applied to more than 130,000 diabetic foot ulcer patients among Cuban and foreign people to date,” according to the information sent to Latin Business Daily. “It is the only therapeutic choice available for the most advanced and complex DFU, reluctant to healing,” the information said.

The product works through a pharmaceutical composition containing human recombinant epidermal growth factor that is applied into a foot wound to accelerate the healing of deep and complex ulcers, either neuropathic or ischemic, to eliminate the need for amputation, according to the organization.

“Commercial agreements have been signed with foreign companies for the European Union, Colombia, Brazil, Algeria, Mexico, China, Russia and the Gulf and Middle East, among others,” according to documents she sent following a request for information. Patents have been approved in several others.

The medicine has huge potential as "the World Health Organization reported in 2014 a prevalence of 382 million diabetics worldwide which is estimated to exceed 592 million before the next 25 years,” according to the information.

The medicine has been registered in Cuba since 2006 and has been included within the National Medical Formulary since 2007. It has extensively been applied and proved effective to thousands of Cubans and Venezuelans as part of state-directed health campaigns and its use can be extended worldwide, the organization said.

“Insufficient healing of wounds of diabetics is a medical problem still unsolved at a world level. It has been stated that between 4 percent and 10 percent of diabetic patients will develop a diabetic foot ulcer at some point in their lives and, of these, about 5 percent to 24 percent (of the cases) may lead to an amputation,” according to the information provided by the Cuban scientific institute.

The Cuban organization has also developed medicines that are at different stages of advance and trial to combat tumors and cancers, and has developed viruses to prevent strokes and heart failures.

Adrian Rodriguez, an official with the Santiago-based United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, recently told Latin Business Daily that information about the Cuban advances in bio-medicine were presented during a recent regional conference on the bio-economy.

He said Cuban scientists have made notable advances in medicine as they had to develop their own medicines and vaccines because of the economic embargo against the country that lasted several decades and limited the availability of medicine.