CANCER RESEARCHERS IN ISRAEL BELIEVE THEY WILL HAVE A CURE FOR CANCER IN 1 YEAR
Promising Research with Multi-Agent Toxins
By Joshua Mansour, M.D.
February 1, 2019
According to the WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer, 18.1 million cancer cases are diagnosed worldwide each year. Cancer is now the second leading cause of death behind cardiovascular diseases. It is imperative now, more than ever, that we continue to seek new methods to treat this devastating illness.
Recently, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies did an interview where stated they believe that they will “offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer”. Although it grabs headlines, that is a momentous statement to make. Let’s dig a little deeper into the work that they are currently doing. The premise behind their treatment involves using a multi-agent target toxin treatment to treat cancer. In the past, this type of therapy targeted toxin treatment has involved the introduction of DNA coding for a protein (can be an antibody) into a bacteriophage - which is a virus that infects bacteria. These proteins can then be displayed on the surface of the virus and interact with its surroundings.
The company’s therapy involves a similar phenomenon, but with the use of peptides instead of proteins. Peptides consist of two or more amino acids linked together in a chain. They are smaller than proteins, can serve biological functions, and in many ways are less expensive to reproduce.
Most cancer therapies aim at attacking a target in a cell, on the surface of a particular cell, or in one of its internal pathways. However, a mutation in one of these targets can make the therapy ineffective. What is being done here, with multi-target toxin therapy, is that several peptides of the cancer cell are being targeted with a peptide toxin to avoid mutations rendering a therapy ineffective. The more targets used, the less likely that a series of mutations will occur simultaneously that will make the therapy ineffective. This will help in not allowing the cancer cell to evade the treatment and continue to replicate, even with some mutations occurring.
This may have the ability to reduce side effects as well, given that the peptides will aim to attack specific targets on the cancer cells that are typically not overexpressed in other healthy cells. In addition, since the peptides are small (the ones they have developed are about 12 amino acids long) and lack a rigid structure, it allows them access to regions of the cell that may be blocked if a larger protein was used.
Overall, they are using a “combination modality” in a very specific manner for an attack of each cancer cell in this therapy. Combinational therapy has been successful before with cancer, HIV, and autoimmune disease among others. The goal of the company is to eventually personalize this to each patient by having a biopsy sent and analyzed for the receptors that it overexpresses. The patient would then be administered an individualized concoction developed to treat the disease.
This is exciting and has potential, but more data needs to be presented. Thus far they have concluded mice experimentation and found inhibited human cancer cell growth that did not affect healthy mice cells. They are currently working on beginning a round of clinical trials, which many people will be eager to see the conclusions. Recently, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies has been writing patents on a variety of different specific peptides. While their work thus far is enthusing and making headlines, their claim to “offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer” is likely premature. Yet, I don’t know a single person, including myself, who wouldn’t hope for that.
Joshua Mansour, M.D. is a board-certified hematologist and oncologist in Stanford, California. He is currently doing additional work in the field of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Immunotherapy.