Updated: Aug 19
Biotechnology is one of today's new fields of science, which is based on microbiology, chemical engineering, and biochemistry and is used to investigate the biological relationships of living cells, especially single-celled organisms.
Towards the end of the 1970s, the incidence of cancer began to increase (over 100 per hundred thousand) in Cuba. Realizing that cancer will become a serious public health issue in the coming years, in order to to do their doctorate studies and learn about the relevant technology, Cuban scientists were sent to Finnish Serum Institute, Helsinki, where interfereon production and researches about cancer treatments and potential anti-tumor substances are carried out. During this period, many Cubans were sent to the Curie Institute (Paris), the Pasteur Institute (Paris), the University of Heidelberg (Germany) ,and Harvard University (USA) for doctoral studies in Western Europe and the United States.
After completing their education, the scientists who returned to Cuba rolled up their sleeves to apply what they learned abroad in Cuba and went into intensive work, especially aimed at cancer treatment. After their studies, they opened the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in 1986.
Today, biotech products constitute the second most important export item in Cuba. Among them, the most known drugs are policosanol for a cholesterol-lowering, interferon used to treat viral infections, meningococcal B vaccine, various generic drugs used to treat AIDS, Heberprot-B used to treat diabetic feet, and CIMAvax-EFG used to treat lung cancer, which is the most deceptive in the world, and NIMOTUZUMAB used for head and neck cancer (Diaz, 2015).
Cuba's achievements in this area have also revived health tourism in the country. Patients from many countries continue to come to Cuba for treatment of cancer and genetic diseases. As Cuba's name for the cure for many diseases began to be heard more and more, Cuba's work in cancer treatment had a separate echo. Cuba's effort and perseverance in achieving this are also appreciated by many scientists.