The INSTITUTE OF HEMATOLOGY AND IMMUNOLOGY (IHI), was founded in 1966 and as a center of science and technological innovation of the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba. Since its foundation, biochemical and genetic engineering techniques have been developed that have allowed the introduction of prenatal diagnosis in sickle cell anemia and hemophilia, chronic diseases of genetic origin, as well as notable advances in the study of structural variants of enzymes and of abnormal hemoglobins, and more recently techniques have been introduced for the screening of porphyrias.
The introduction and use of techniques of molecular biology and immunology and the application of monoclonal antibodies, has allowed to establish more precise diagnoses in regard to malignant hemopathies and specifically in leukemia and immunodeficiencies, which contribute to having a more accurate prognosis. for the application of the most suitable treatments.
The use of new and more complex therapeutic protocols for the treatment of these diseases has made possible the increase of the percentage of complete remissions in acute leukemias and the cure in around 70% in lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in children. Treatments with interferon, retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide, as in the more advanced countries, are also used in other types of leukemia, both in children and adults, and bone marrow transplantation (BMT) and apheresis methods are applied. and exchange transfusion in patients who require it.
All these advances have made it possible to extend humanitarian attention to a considerable number of patients from other countries, especially in Latin America and Africa. It stands out in our history, the realization of treatments to children with malignant haemopathies, including bone marrow transplants, to victims of the Chernobyl catastrophe, Ukraine.
Currently, regenerative cell therapy has spread to 11 of the 15 provinces in the country with good results and more than 6000 patients have been treated, without significant secondary manifestations. The specialties that have treated the greatest number of patients are angiology, and orthopedics.
In Cuba, the application of stem cells has been controlled by scientific research projects and ethically endorsed by the use of autologous adult stem cells, extracted from bone marrow or peripheral blood previously stimulated, as a set of stem cells included in a concentrate of mononuclear cells. These cells, because they belong to the patient, do not face ethical problems or immunological rejection.
At present, this therapy can be applied in the specialty of Angiology, only in patients with ischemia of the lower limbs due to atherosclerosis or arteritis of the upper or lower limbs, preferably in patients in early stages of the disease; in Orthopedics and Traumatology in patients with complex fractures, pseudoarthrosis, osteoarthrosis of the knee and aseptic necrosis of the hip.