The last few years have been incredibly significant in terms of medical advancements. Doctors have achieved some amazing things and many have made the news. Many of these breakthroughs happened in places that are relatively unknown. For example, before we talk about the first ever esophageal transplant, let’s focus on a few other notable discoveries of the past few years from smaller regions.
First To Eliminate The Transmission Of HIV From Parent To Child
The WHO recognized Cuba as the first to eliminate the transmission of HIV from mother to child in 2015. This is a great victory in the long struggle against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards an AIDS-free generation.
Low Rates Of Infant Mortality
In Cuba, the infant mortality rate has been drastically reduced to less than 5 per 1,000 births, according to a study in 2012. That is below the rate of 2014 in the US of 5.82 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.
Development Of A Vaccine Against Lung Cancer
A byproduct of the best relations between the United States and Cuba is the exchange of medicines. The Roswell Park Cancer Institute last year began work to bring an innovative vaccine against lung cancer called “Cimavax” to the US. The drug was developed by the Cuban Molecular Immunology Center and is currently approved for phase I safety and efficacy testing in the United States by the FDA. In a study in Cuba with 405 patients with total lung cancer, those who received the drug lived for three months longer on average than others.
Of course, the health system of Cuba is not perfect, it has much to improve yet and needs many resources. But it is important to recognize their successes. Cuba has also sent more doctors abroad to other countries during humanitarian crises than any other country in the world providing a helping hand in times of need.
The First Esophageal Transplant
Saverio La Francesca, along with Fabio Triolo, conducted what was the world’s first esophageal transplant. The two scientists from Italy achieved something that was deemed impossible just a few years ago. Saverio is a cardiothoracic surgeon who studied at the Faculty of Medicine in Palermo and then obtained his specialization from La Sapienza in Rome before moving to the United States. In Houston he trained at the Texas Heart Institute. The two scientists conducted the first bioartificial esophagus transplant. The bioartificial organ implant was developed by the two surgeons using stem cells and a synthetic scaffold. The man is still alive and is doing well, which means that the operation was an absolute success. Dr. Saverio La Francesca s continuing his researches to further develop this field.