Cuba to study vaccine candidate against hepatocelluar carcinoma
There is a prevention strategy, for example, the diagnosis of Hepatitis C in blood donors, in order to cut the transmission.
Early diagnosis has a favourable impact on the evolution and survival of patients with liver cancer or hepatocarcinoma. "More than 50 percent of the cases we have seen were diagnosed late. When that happens, the options of curative treatment disappear or are reduced », explained the doctor in Sciences Julio César Hernández Perera, principal investigator of the Cimeq.
To treat this type of cancer - the most common primary tumour of the liver; and that the statistics place between the third and fifth cause of death by cancer in the world- Hernández Perera believes that one of the keys to success is, in addition to prevention, in primary care itself.
The most important thing for health professionals is to know their population, know which patients are at risk, those who consume alcoholic beverages frequently, those who are obese, those who have a family history of malignant liver disease; dispensaries them and personalize their medical care, he explained in the context of the 2018 Hepatocarcinoma Convention.
"Vaccination against Hepatitis B had a great impact in Cuba; Not all countries have that possibility, it's just a luxury of developed nations. But the epidemiological pattern changes when other preventable diseases begin to appear and that they can evolve towards liver cirrhosis, "the expert said.
In that sense, he mentioned the infection by the Hepatitis C virus. "It is a disease diagnosed at the beginning of the 90s, and we are living its natural evolution to the development of liver cirrhosis. There is a prevention strategy, for example, the diagnosis of Hepatitis C in blood donors, in order to cut the transmission.
We must avoid excessive alcohol consumption, as it is one of the main causes of cirrhosis; obesity, metabolic diseases.
"Likewise, liver diseases due to non-alcoholic fat deposition, associated with high-calorie consumption and so-called junk food, should be mentioned. It is what the population knows as fatty liver, but goes further, to develop non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, ie, fatty liver with inflammatory processes, and persist inflammation progresses to cirrhosis, "he said.
Once that happens the possibility of evolution to a hepatocellular carcinoma is present. "One of the actions that primary care can do is promote healthy lifestyles."
The expert also identified the renewal of statistics as a challenge for a greater approach to this health problem. «In the case of hepatocarcinoma, under-registration is inevitable. Cirrhosis is a silent disease in its early stages. When a patient dies because of it, many times it has not been studied, or it is thought that due to this advanced disease, diagnostic procedures cannot be done. Consequently, hepatocellular carcinoma is not diagnosed, when it is internationally demonstrated that the main cause of decompensation of liver cirrhosis is this tumour. "
A new clinical trial, approved by the Regulatory Authority for Medicines, Equipment and Medical Devices of the Republic of Cuba, where theHebersavax vaccine candidate will be used in the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinomas, will take place at Cimeq, a certified good health institution. clinical practices and that has a highly qualified medical team and all the leading diagnostic means.
The doctor of Sciences Francisco Hernández Bernal, professor and principal investigator of the CIGB and clinical manager of the project, explained that it is the first study in humans with this vaccine, for hepatocarcinoma; before it has been used in other types of solid tumours. "We are now in a phase of incipient research, an exploratory study, where we will investigate this possible therapeutic niche," he said.
He is not talking, he insisted, that we already have a therapy for hepatocarcinoma. It is an investigation that is in its initial phase, he said.