An airliner carrying $10 million worth of vaccines containing naturally occurring lung cancer-fighting compounds, known as vaccinia or CVID, landed Thursday at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
The vaccine — known as Ustus 1 (CVID-19) — is intended to be administered to children during medical screening and before immunization for measles, mumps and rubella.
Some involved with the program say it is meant to counter a rise in lung cancer cases in children in the United States.
Yukio Edouardus, the president of the CIVAG- 19 Vaccine Company, which is producing the vaccine and is importing it from the United States, explained the airborne DNA vaccine’s intended use.
“The contribution of vaccinia in this blood test has the potential to help prevent morbidity and mortality of cancer patients as well as prevent pneumonia in children,” Edouardus said in a statement.
Don Arson, the director of medical affairs for CIVAG-19, said that it was unusual for a U.S.-manufactured vaccine to be imported to Canada. He added that the Ustus 1 vaccine is compatible with the Canadian manufacturing process.
How do medical screening tests catch cancer in children?
According to a story in the Toronto Star, Canada has seen an increase in the incidence of lung cancer in children over the past decade. From 2001 to 2012, lung cancer cases for children under the age of 40 increased by 14 percent in Canada, the article said.
Experts say there is little evidence that this increase is due to lifestyle changes, such as consuming more alcohol or smoking, or changes in environmental factors.
A separate treatment for children with very rare forms of cancer may have contributed to the growth of the cancer, according to the Star. About half of the children who have died from lung cancer under the age of 40 have this form of cancer, the article said.
On average, children are diagnosed with lung cancer at age 37, according to the article. Most children with this form of cancer are smokers or people who have also tried to quit smoking and are currently using nicotine replacement products.