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Science in Cuba

May 18, 2015

Cuba is a global leader in cancer vaccine development, and normalizing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba could lead to new partnerships between scientists in the two countries.



Garry Balding Dominoes Trinidad Cuba CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Cuba’s population is aging, but also very healthy, thanks to excellent health care and advances in biomedical science. (Garry Balding/Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND-2.0)

Cooperative science between the US and Cuba. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

In the United States, Cuba is better known for its cigars than its science. But Science magazine international news editor Richard Stone has been meeting with scientists there, and reports that despite isolation and limited resources, Cuba is on the cutting edge in some fields, like biotechnology.

RICHARD STONE (Science Magazine):

The country basically spent a billion dollars in the 80s and 90s building up a biotech research and development industry.


As a result, they are now a world leader in some medical treatments, especially vaccines that target cancer cells.


There are dozens, I would say, of experimental cancer vaccines in trial in the United States, but Cuba has actually been treating cancer patients with cancer vaccines for the past fifteen years.


He says scientists in the two countries are discussing new research partnerships. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.