Discussion about the Cuba's life-saving lung cancer vaccine called CimaVax-EGF is growing rapidly. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

For several years now, Cuba has had a life-saving vaccine to prevent lung cancer, which the U.S. has not been able to get its hands on because of the 55-year trade embargo the two countries faced. Now that the two governments are slowly trying to normalize relations (keyword: slowly), the promising substance might make its way to the U.S. in order to start clinical trials. Moving the process forward is most likely one of President Obama’s most pressing matters during his March trip to the Island.

In addition, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo visited Havana last year, and reportedly finalized negotiations between Roswell Park Cancer Institute finalized and Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology to begin clinical trials in the U.S. Roswell Park CEO Candace Johnson said, “The chance to evaluate a vaccine like this is a very exciting prospect.” She said it presents low toxicity and should be relatively inexpensive to store and produce. Johnson has been hoping for clinical trials to potentially begin during the next few months, but nothing has been confirmed.

Studies have shown the vaccine could offer high-risk patients an additional 18 years of life, as it keeps the deadliest type of cancer cells form growing in the tissues of the lung, attacking a hormone called epidermal growth factor, or EGF. Another enticing thing about it is that it could lead to studies of other EGF-associated cancers such as pancreatic, breast, neck or head.

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