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Thread: Possible cancer cure in the works

  1. #1
    Registered: Aug 2009

    Possible cancer cure in the works

    This is a very bold claim, but if true it could spell the end of the greatest plague that ever befell mankind. What has come out so far seems promising

    The Jerusalem Post reported that the anti-cancer drug is based on AEBi's so-called SoAP technology, which belongs to the phage display group of technologies. With it, “scientists introduce 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 the phage. Researchers can use these protein-displaying phages to screen for interactions with other proteins, DNA sequences and small molecules.”

    A team of scientists won the Nobel Prize last year for their work on phage display in the directed evolution of new proteins – in particular, for the production of antibody therapeutics, The Jerusalem Post reported. “AEBi is doing something similar but with peptides, compounds of two or more amino acids linked in a chain.” According to Morad, peptides have several advantages over antibodies, including that they are smaller, cheaper, and easier to produce and regulate.

    According to an article in Elsevier’s Science Direct, peptide therapeutics have played a notable role in medicine since the advent of insulin therapy in 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 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the global cancer burden to have risen to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million deaths in 2018. The IARC reports 1 in 5 men and 1 in 6 women worldwide develop cancer during their lifetime, and 1 in 8 men and 1 in 11 women die from the disease. In addition, every sixth death in the world is due to cancer, making it the second leading cause of death, second only to cardiovascular disease.

    Morad said in its infancy, AEBi was essentially “doing what everyone else was doing, trying to discover individual novel peptides for specific cancers.”

    But then Morad and his colleague, Dr. Hanan Itzhaki, began attempting to identify why other cancer-killing drugs and treatments didn’t work or eventually failed. And they say they’ve found a way to counter that effect.

    Morad said most anti-cancer drugs attack a specific target on or in the cancer cell. “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,” he told The Jerusalem Post.

    “In contrast, MuTaTo 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,” Morad said. “By using at least three targeting peptides on the same structure with a strong toxin, 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 the cancer.”

    “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.”

    According to Morad, many cancer cells activate detoxification mechanisms when in stress from drugs and the cells pump out the drugs or modify them to be non-functional. Morad told The Jerusalem Post that detoxification takes time, and he’s banking on a strong toxin that will have a high probability of killing the cancer cell before that detoxification occurs.

    “Many cytotoxic anticancer treatments aim at fast-growing cells. But cancer stem cells are not fast growing, and they can escape these treatments. Then, when the treatment is over, they can generate cancer again,” The Jerusalem Post reported.

    “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,” Morad said.

    Because cancer cells are born out of mutations that occur in cancer stem cells, most of the over-expressed 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,” he said.

    Finally, some cancer tumors can erect shields which prohibit large molecules from accessing them. “MuTaTo acts like an octopus or a piece of spaghetti and can sneak into places where other large molecules cannot reach,” 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.”

    Morad said AEBi's discovery could also decrease the sickening side-effects of most cancer treatments dramatically, which are the result of drug treatments interacting with the wrong or additional targets, or the correct targets but on non-cancerous cells. “He said MuTaTo’s having a combination of several highly specific cancer-targeting peptides on one scaffold for each type of cancer cell would increase the specificity to the cancer cell due to the avidity effect. In addition, in most cases, the non-cancer cells that have a protein in common with the cancer cells do not over-express it.”

    Morad equated the concept of MuTaTo to the triple drug cocktail that has helped change AIDS “from being an automatic death sentence to a chronic – but often manageable – disease.” Today people with AIDS and HIV are carriers of the disease, but they are not sick anymore. And the reason is the combination of drugs they are given.

    “Today, AIDS patients take protease inhibitors in combination with two other drugs called reverse transcriptase inhibitors,” The Jerusalem Post reported. “The drug combination disrupts HIV at different stages in its replication, restrains an enzyme crucial to an early stage of HIV duplication and holds back another enzyme that functions near the end of the HIV replication process.”

    “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.”

    According to Morad, the MuTaTo cancer treatment will eventually be designed specifically for each person. A piece of each patient’s biopsy will be given to the lab, which will then analyze it to know which receptors are over-expressed, he said. “The individual would then be administered exactly the molecule cocktail needed to cure his disease.”

    But unlike with HIV and AIDS, where patients must take the cocktail for the rest their lives, with MuTaTo, the cells would be killed, and the patient could likely stop treatment after only a few weeks.

    Aridor said AEBi is in the process of writing patents on specific peptides, which will be a large bank of targeting toxin peptides wholly owned and hard to break.

    The company has finished exploratory mice experiments, which “inhibited human cancer cell growth and had no effect at all on healthy mice cells, in addition to several in-vitro trials,” The Jerusalem Post reported.

    Next, AEBi will begin a round of clinical trials which could be completed within a few years and would make the treatment available in specific cases.

    “Our results are consistent and repeatable,” Aridor said

  2. #2
    Registered: May 2004
    Unfortunately, we'll never know whether this is possible, because the company is too poor to publish their research, apparently.

    Cancer experts and others in the United States and abroad were less than enthusiastic about a team of Israeli scientists' statements that it would cure cancer in the coming year. In fact, some were outright incensed by the claims. Yet even so, many non-experts refused to give up hope. And the company itself stood up to its claims, telling The Times of Israel today that it simply could not afford to publish papers on its research.
    “As someone with 10 years of molecular biology and medical experience, I strongly suspect the Israeli scientists…are completely misrepresenting their supposed discovery. But I want so, so badly for it to be true,” said John Jiao. “To my knowledge, there has never been a single published paper which discovered any one protein (peptide) that exists in a large plurality of all cancers, let alone every single one. Of the common ones, they all exist in normal cells as well. So, the idea that these scientists have somehow, without anyone else developing anything remotely close, come up with a cancer cure all that is not only totally effective but also has no side effects? This looks, sounds, smells and feels like snake oil.”
    Also, there's this:

    The problem with these stories is that they are almost always based on very preliminary research that seems extremely promising, but rarely pans out. Most cancer treatments that are designed to work on many or even most cancers end up being effective for just a few.

    This is no surprise, because “cancer” isn’t actually a disease. What we like to call cancer is really a collection of vastly different diseases, with different causes, treatments, and outcomes, that we lump together for convenience because they all have a a few similarities. Saying that you can “cure cancer” is a nonsense statement — it’s like claiming to be able to cure all bacterial infections, or all chronic illness, with a single treatment.

    So most of these claims are based on tests done to cells in a jar, or rats in a cage, because when it comes to real-life people it turns out that very few cancer cures actually work. Only a small fraction of these pre-clinical studies — studies done as a proof of concept, demonstrating that the treatment works in theory before trials in people begin — make it to human testing, and even then usually treat just one or two types of cancer*.

    The latest news about AEBi is no different. When you look for the evidence behind their enormous claims, you find almost nothing backing them up at all. They have no human studies, and in fact appear to have not yet published a single paper on their supposedly groundbreaking research. The only thing that is currently supporting the claim of curing cancer within a year is a series of slides on their website referring to work done in cells in petri dishes and rodents in a lab.

    This is interesting research, but remember: less than 5% of cancer treatments that are tested in pre-clinical research make it to patients. This is unsurprising, because developing cancer treatments is astonishingly hard. There are hundreds of hoops to jump through between successfully killing cancer cells in a petri dish and curing cancer in actual living human beings.

  3. #3
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Well I'll believe it when I see it, but I hope this succeeds. Then we can move onto finding cures for other things.

  4. #4
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Like idiocy, because that's the real blight on humanity.

  5. #5
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    It has the scent of fundraising puffery & vaporware to it & I was skeptical even before I started reading the commentaries, but of course I'd love nothing more than for a cure to be found for as many cancers as they can stamp out, or even just improvements.

    All this does is remind me there haven't been any claims I recall lately of someone discovering cold fusion or hot superconductance or a lossless generator or quantum computing... The main thing this story did is remind me that this is still a thing that happens sometimes.

  6. #6
    Registered: May 2004
    Hmm... now that you mention it, I don't really remember anything big either. The last thing was a simultaneous interpreting device akin to a Star Trek universal translator a couple years ago that made millions from crowdfunding and preorders:
    Last edited by Starker; 31st Jan 2019 at 14:53.

  7. #7
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    quantum computing...
    This is being worked on though. Microsoft have a prototype in a cold basement don't they?

    Don't be too skeptical about this development. Tyrosine Kinase pathway inhibitors really did make a difference in some forms of blood cancer 10-15 years ago, almost doubling the 5 year survival rate. They were mooted as a cure and although that's not the case they made a lot of difference.

  8. #8
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia

    Now to research some new tech.

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