CNIC, Towards the Development of New Natural Health Products
By: Alfredo Boada Mola
The Cuban National Center of Scientific Research (CNIC) develops new natural products for the treatment of a variety of illnesses, thereby improving the health and quality of life of the Cuban people. “In the last few years we have obtained excellent results in the development of natural products such as PPG (Policosanol), known to reduce cholesterol levels and recommended for people with diabetes and hypertension”, said Blanca Rosa Hung, CNIC's General Director, to Cubaplus.
According to the Doctor of Biological Sciences, tests continue to be conducted on PPG or Ateromixol, a mix of raw top aliphatic alcohols of high molecular weight extracted from sugarcane wax. Tests include their antioxydant effects in addition to their ability to prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaque and as an anti-platelet aggregate.
“Clinical tests are also being done on its effectiveness as a treatment for people having suffered an ischaemic stroke which often affects people 60 years and over. In middle-aged patients it reduces vascular events and hospitalizations ”, added the Director of the CNIC, an entity of BioCubaFarma Biotechnological Industries and Pharmacists Group.
In addition its leading product (1996 Gold Medal from the World Organization of the Intellectual Property and by the Taiwan Bureau of Health and Biotechnology in 2004), this center has important advances in securing nutritional supplements such as Prevenox and Abexol that help reduce the effects of osteoporosis and aid in the protection of gastritic problems, Abexol, a purified extract of beeswax with anti-inflammatory properties as well as having benefits for osteoarthritis, is very popular among the Cuban population. It also has antioxydant properties, cellular anti-aging effects and associated physiopathologies. In addition, it is useful in the treatment of gastritis as through its oxidation processes it produces a moderate citoprotector effect, Hung commented.
Prevenox is also helpful for elderly people as it helps in the treatment of osteoporosis, a high risk illness for post-menopausal women. The mix of alphatic acids of high molecular weight purified by sugar-cane wax equally protects the organism from oxidative stress.
Presently, the CNIC is building a new plant to produce soft capsules, part of a transference of technology from a Chinese company and will begin operations in the second half of 2016.
The new installation will make, among other products, Palmex, an oily substance used for the treatment of prostate benign hiperplasia, which in men older than 50 provokes uncomfortable symptoms of the low urinal tract.
Another product that the CNIC is developing via its Infectious Diseases Department, in conjunction with the Institutes of Finlay Vaccines and Pedro Kourí Tropical Medicine, and of which some years of clinical tests are still missing, is the Cholera vaccine.
As part of the academic cooperation with other foreign institutions, the National Center of Scientific Research collaborates with the University of Québec's School of Superior Technology, via the Experimental Station of Pilot Procedures for the Environment, Civil Engineering Department.
Located in the Playa municipality of Havana, the CNIC was the first multidisciplinary institution created in Cuba to form specialists and to promote research in natural, biomedical, technological and agricultural sciences.
Its foundation on July 1, 1965 made history for sciences in Cuba, in a decade of political, economic, cultural, and social radical transformations in the country.
According to Ricardo Arencibia, CNIC's Director of Organization and International Relations, this institution managed to makes itself known in demanding markets such as Australia, South Korea and China.
Its Environmental Department develops multiple services for the treatment of waste and recycling and the protection of materials, among which are those of the Mariel Special Development Zone. Abel Castañeda, Head of the Department of Materials Protection, said that this department establishes processes to protect and increase the useful life of metallic materials and concrete, mostly used in construction.
According to Castañeda, they carry out the evaluation of the aggressiveness of corrosion in Cuba in strategic areas such as Mariel, areas that are dedicated to the development of aeolian energy and oil extraction and refinery. During the past five decades the CNIC attained important achievements in food and agricultural sciences, organic and inorganic chemistry, electronic microscopy, neuroscience, environmental protection, the development of molecular scoreboards for the genetic improvement and resistance of plants.
Among its successes are the ultra microanalytic SUMA system of massive screening for congenital malformations, which integrates the Maternal Infantile Program in Cuba; electroencephalographs and electromiographs, the Coramec artificial heart and the first electroaudiometer world objective. It has also qualified more than 30, 000 specialists, of which 389 are doctors of sciences.
Thanks to the CNIC two million people have been treated by means of the therapeutic use of the ozone, which for 30 years has been successfully applied to diabetic patients, treating rheumatoid hernia disc, osteomioarticular processes, arthritis, dermatology, oncology and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and dementia, said doctor Silvia Menéndez. She added that its specialists developed ozonized vegetable oils registered in Cuba for their topic an oral use as germicides and anti-inflammatories.
The contribution of the CNIC contemplates the Diramic system of rapid microbiological diagnosis, the products Neurocid-m, Medicid-03 and Hidroxiapatita Coralina HAP 200 , biomaterial to reconstruct or replace damaged bone tissue and to make ocular prostheses.
At present, the CNIC directs its research and development activities towards three fixed objectives: the creation of new pharmaceutical products and natural nutritional supplements, the development of recombinant biotechnological productions and generation of processes and technologies that guarantee the best environmental management of the agricultural, biopharmaceutical and industrial productions.