China / Society

China, Russia to test Cuban diabetes drug

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-07-20 11:24

HAVANA - Cuba is set to begin advanced stage-three tests in China and Russia of a new biotech drug designed to prevent diabetes-related foot amputations, the official daily Granma reported Thursday.

According to the officials, the tests of Heberprot-P, which has already proven effective in healing diabetic foot ulcers, would begin sometime this year.

Along with China and Russia, the phase-three trials are also slated for 100 hospitals throughout the European Union, marking the first time that Cuban scientists undertake advanced trials in developed countries, said Dr. Luis Herrera, director of Havana's Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.

Herrera said the trials represent the first large-scale testing of a drug designed to treat diabetic foot ulcers.

"That decision is an evidence of the level of the acceptance and effectiveness of the product, which has prevented the amputation of lower limbs in thousands of diabetic patients," Herrera said.

More than 70,000 patients from different nations have been treated so far with Heberprot-P, which is meant to complement, not replace, conventional therapies.

Cuba's biotech industry was founded in 1979 by Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who saw science and technology as important engines of economic and social development.

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