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Cancer

Possible Cancer Cure Being Developed Under Scrutiny

3 months, 2 weeks ago

5167  1
Posted on Feb 04, 2019, 10 p.m.

Israeli scientists from Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies LTD., recently announced that they believed they may have discovered a universal cancer cure that works with a single injection and does not require toxic chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery; and they are coming under scrutiny.

“Our cancer drug is effective from day one, lasting a duration of a few weeks, having no or minimal side effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market,....We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer” lead researcher Dan Aridor told the Jerusalem Post.

MuTaTo is a multi-target compound that essentially works like an antibiotic, which is showing very promising results in preclinical trials, and they are trying to advance their research to clinical trials as fast as possible. Exploratory mice experiments inhibited human cancer cell growth, having no effect on healthy mice cells, in addition to several in vitro trials, with consistent and repeatable results, according to the Jerusalem Post report.

MuTaTo works to target cancer stem cells to eliminate chances of recurrence, and their solution is suggested to be generic and personal using a multipronged approach similar to treatment given to HIV patients, relying on a combination of several peptides for each cancer cell to eliminate chances of evasion through mutation.

Based on SoAP technology MuTaTo involves introduction of DNA coding for a protein into a bacteriophage, that protein is then displayed on the surface of the phage. Scientist won a Nobel Prize for their work on phage display in the directed evolution of new proteins, specifically production of antibody therapeutics; AEBi is doing something similar with peptides which can have advantages over antibodies including being smaller, cheaper, and being easier to produce and regulate.

Most cancer drugs attack a specific target on or in the cancer cell, inhibiting the target typically affects a physiological pathway that promotes the cancer. However mutations in targets downstream could make targets not relevant to the cancer nature of the cell rendering attacking drug ineffective. Combination of several cancer targeting peptides for each cell at the same time with a strong peptide toxin that kills cancer cells specifically using at least three targeting peptides has made the treatment thus far not affected by mutations; cancer cells mutate in a way that the targeted receptors are dropped by the cancer.

Instead of attacking one receptor, three are attacked at the same time, not even cancer can mutate three receptors at a time explains Morad. The team is banking on when the toxin is strong it has a high probability of killing the cancer cell before detoxification can occur and the cell modifies itself. Cytotoxic anticancer treatment aim at fast growing cancer cells, however cancer stem cells are not fast growing and can escape treatment to regenerate again; according to the team the multiple target attack ensure they will all be destroyed.

The small size of the peptide parts of MuTaTo are able to sneak into places where others cannot to reach behind cancer tumor shields, which should also make the whole molecule non-immunogenic in most cases and enable repeated administration of required. Combination of several highly specific cancer targeting peptides on one scaffold for each cancer cell should increase specificity to the cancer cell.

Eventually the treatment will be personalized, after a biopsy has been taken to the lab to analyze which receptors are being over expressed the patient would be administered the exact molecule cocktail needed to that patient’s disease. Dr. Iian Morad suggests that their treatment could also reduce sickening side effects associated with most cancer treatments.

It seems almost immediately negative P.R campaigns have began to smear and discredit the Israeli scientists.The American Cancer Society writes that their claims are unlikely to be true, including that their approach isn’t that unique and other similar approaches have failed. Israel Advanced Technology Industries CEO says they have damaged the image of Israel’s life science industry. Dr. Ben Neel director of Perlmutter Cancer Center says “more likely this is another claim in a long line of spurious, irresponsible and ultimately cruel false promises.” Adding to outside experts concerns the study has only been conducted on mice and in vitro, as well as Dr. Robert Maki of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute notes there is no data available to view, to which AEBi claims to not have the funding to publish at this time.

Fair enough what works in animals does not always work in people; and past studies setting up road blocks have failed as cancer cells found their way around them. Cancer is indeed different from one person to the next, but in theory this is promising. Why not let them finish their work and publish the results before tearing them down. If they fail so be it, this work will fall in with the countless others showing promise that fell short. As far as no publishing, as of yet, if there is limited funding for research what is the better use: focusing on research or financing publications; advance the research to find more targeting peptides and do more experiments, or write an article.

Cancer is a trillion dollar industry worldwide that should be seen as a parasite to humanity, everything should been done to work against it, including educating the public, and developing new drugs and therapies. So why are they coming under attack, why is this such a bad thing; they would not be the first to fail after suggesting promise. Maybe they should not have given a short timeline or used such strong wording, but this should be a welcomed development, that we await results from. Only time will tell. We all want a cure.

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