A team of Israeli scientists claim to have discovered the first complete cure for cancer, The Jerusalem Post reported.
“We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor. His company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd (AEBi) is developing the new treatment.
“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.”
Aridor and AEBi CEO Dr Ilan Morad insist that their treatment, named MuTaTo (multi-target toxin) is ‘essentially’ a cancer anti-biotic – a disruption technology of the highest order.
The drug is based on SoAP technology that involves introducing DNA coding for a protein, such as an antibody, into a bacteriophage – a virus that infects bacteria.
The protein is then displayed on the surface of a phage – these are then used by the researchers to screen for interactions will other proteins, DNA sequences and small molecules.
The idea is similar to that of a Nobel Prize winner in which scientists worked on phage display in the directed evolution of new proteins in particular, to produce antibody therapeutics.
The AEBi, however, is using peptides, compounds of two or more amino acids linked in a chain. Morad said the peptides have advantage over antibodies as they are cheaper, smaller and easier to produce and regulate.
“We were doing what everyone else was doing, trying to discover individual novel peptides for specific cancers,” Morad recalled. Soon, he and his colleague Dr Hannan Itzhaki set on a new path. First, they had to identify why other cancer-killing drugs and treatments were not working. Then they had to find a counter product.
Morad said most anti-cancer drugs attack a specific target on or in the cancer cell. MuTaTo, on the other hand, uses a combination of several cancer-targeting peptides combined with a strong peptide toxin for each cancer cell at the same time to kill them specifically.
“This makes a great difference between the two kinds of cells and should decrease the side effects dramatically,” Morad said.
“We made sure that the treatment will not be affected by mutations; cancer cells can mutate in such a way that targeted receptors are dropped by cancer,” said Morad.
“The probability of having multiple mutations that would modify all targeted receptors simultaneously decreases dramatically with the number of targets used. 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.”
A lot of cytotoxic anticancer treatments aim at fast-growing cells but cancer stem cells do not grow fast and are able to escape the treatments. Once the treatment is over, the cells generate cancer again.
“If it does not completely annihilate the cancer, the remaining cells can start to get mutations again, and then the cancer comes back, but this time it is drug resistant,” said Morad.
He explained that “because cancer cells are born out of mutations that occur in cancer stem cells, most of the overexpressed proteins which are targeted on the cancer cell exist in the cancer stem cells. MuTaTo’s multiple-target attack ensures that they will be destroyed as well.”
Morad said the peptide parts of MuTaTo are very small (12 amino acids long) and lack a rigid structure. “This should make the whole molecule non-immunogenic in most cases and would enable repeated administration of the drug,” he said.
“We used to give AIDS patients several drugs, but we would administer them one at a time,” Morad explained. “During the course of treatment, the virus mutated, and the AIDS started attacking again. Only when patients started using a cocktail, were they able to stop the disease.”
People with AIDS are now HIV carriers but they are not sick anymore, he added.
Morad said the MuTato treatment will be eventually be personalized with each patient providing a piece of his own biopsy to the lab to analyse receptors. The patient will be administered molecule cocktail needed to cure the disease.