“You have cancer” are the three words no one wants to hear. Yet, according to cancer.gov, nearly 40% of men and woman will be diagnosed with the affliction in their lifetimes. Because the condition is life-threatening, researchers are working as fast as possible to find a remedy. Recently, a group of Israeli scientists announced they will have the first “complete cure” for cancer within one year. Reportedly, it will be brief, cheap, and effective.
Said Dan Aridor, chairman of the board Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd (AEBi): “We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer.” The company was founded in 2000 in the ITEK incubator in the Kiryat Weizmann Science Park in Ness Ziona, Israel.
According to Forbes, AEBi developed the SoAP platform, a biology screening platform technology, which provides “functional leads—agonist, antagonist, inhibitor, etc.—to very difficult targets.” A development-stage biopharmaceutical company is credited for the discovery and development of therapeutic peptides.
The new treatment is called MuTaTo (multi-target toxin). The researchers claim it is essentially “on the scale of a cancer antibiotic-a disruption technology of the highest order.” Under the leadership of CEO, the potential “cure” uses a combination of cancer-targeting peptides and a toxin to specifically target, then kill, cancer cells.
Aridor told The Jerusalem Post: “Our cancer cure will be effective from day one, will last a duration of a few weeks and will have no or minimal side-effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market. Our solution will be both generic and personal.”
According to an article in Elsevier’s Science Direct, peptide therapeutics have been proven to play a notable role in medicine since the 1920s. “Over 60 peptide drugs are approved in the United States and other major markets, and peptides continue to enter clinical development at a steady pace,” the article states.
The Israeli scientists claim MuTaTo is unique because unlike most anti-cancer drugs. This is because conventional drugs attack a specific target on or in the cancer cell. MuTaTo, on the other hand, “is using a combination of several cancer-targeting peptides for each cancer cell at the same time, combined with a strong peptide toxin that would kill cancer cells specifically,” said Morad.
He added, “Inhibiting the target usually affects a physiological pathway that promotes cancer. Mutations in the targets – or downstream in their physiological pathways – could make the targets not relevant to the cancer nature of the cell, and hence the drug attacking it is rendered ineffective.”
“The probability of having multiple mutations that would modify all targeted receptors simultaneously decreases dramatically with the number of targets used,” Morad continued. “Instead of attacking receptors one at a time, we attack receptors three at a time – not even cancer can mutate three receptors at the same time.”
The Israeli scientists might be optimistic, but Len Lichtenfeld, MD, ACS chief medical officer, is cautious. On his blog, “A Cure For Cancer? Not So Fast,” Lichtenfeld wrote: “…it goes without saying, we all share the aspirational hope that they are correct. Unfortunately, we must be aware that this is far from proven as an effective treatment for people with cancer, let alone a cure.”
Lichtenfeld added several key points he says must be kept in mind, no matter what mainstream media reports say. For instance, he pointed out that this is a news report based on limited information provided by researchers and a company invested in the technology. The research has not been published in a scientific journal where it would be subject to review, criticism, and support from peers.
Furthermore, the touted results are based on a mouse experiment which is described as “exploratory.” Because of this, he says there is not a well-established program of experiments which would define how the treatment may (or may not) work, as additional research is conducted. Lichtenfeld also added that it will likely take some time to prove the benefit of the new approach to the treatment of cancer. He said based on other similar claims of “breakthrough technologies,” more than likely, this treatment will not be successful.
“Our hopes are always on the side of new breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. We are living in an era where many exciting advances are impacting the care of patients with cancer,” Lichtenfeld said. “We hope that this approach also bears fruit and is successful. At the same time, we must always offer a note of caution that the process to get this treatment from mouse to man is not always a simple and uncomplicated journey.”
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