HAVANA, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Cuba is set to begin clinical trials for Heberferon, a biotech drug for patients suffering from kidney and brain cancer, an expert from Cuba's Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) announced on Wednesday.
Iraldo Bello, a biological sciences doctor, said the trials would be undertaken in 2017 and cover about 300 patients.
Bello stressed that preclinical studies and pilot programs on human patients had showed "very promising" results for the drug's effect on the renal carcinoma and malignant brain tumors.
Heberferon is a unique drug, resulting from the combination of proteins, recombinant human interferon alpha 2b and gamma, he said, adding the drug has showed great efficiency at tackling basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer.
The specialist has devoted over 20 years of his career to Hebeferon, which he sees as one of the most promising Cuban biotechnology products, with several countries having expressed an interest in obtaining it.
Cancer is a leading cause of death in Cuba. The country sees over 5,000 new cases of skin cancer a year, due to its strong exposure to sunlight.
Cuba currently has 28 products registered or being researched to combat cancer, including therapeutic vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, interferons and peptides.