Foreign cancer experts are criticizing claims by a team of Israeli researchers who say they have developed a concept that will pave the way for cancer cure, with one American expert dismissing him as likely "another in a long line of spurs, irresponsible and false promises to cancer patients. "
The CEO of the company behind the survey told The Times of Israel on Tuesday that it did not publish its searches in medical journals, as is the norm, because "it can not" do so, but that the results of its research "Tests clinical "were" very good ". Several Israeli specialists contacted by the Israeli Times refused to comment on the allegation, some precisely because they were unfamiliar with the investigation.
"We are working on a complete cure for cancer," said Ilan Morad, CEO and founder of Nes Ziona-based Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi), in an interview with The Times of Israel on Tuesday. company made for the Jerusalem Post earlier this week. "We still have a long way to go, but in the end we believe we will have a cure for all types of cancer patients and with few side effects."
Morad added that "within a year" the company could begin treating patients as part of clinical trials waiting to start raising funds. The family of molecules that it has developed, which are at the heart of its ostensible path to a treatment, has been tested in pre-clinical tests on human cancer cells in a laboratory and in mice, Morad said. cancers such as lung cancer, colon cancer and cancer of the head and neck.
Several hospitals and experts in Israel declined to comment on the allegations, some noting that they had no direct information on the survey. Other experts abroad sounded warnings about the researchers' claims.
Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy medical director of the national office of the American Cancer Society, noted on Tuesday that although Israeli scientists have worked "with an interesting approach to interfere with the ability of cancer cells to function," their research apparently was not published in scientific literature where it would be subject to peer review, support and / or criticism. "
"We all hope that a cure for cancer can be found and found quickly. It's certainly possible that this approach is a job, "he wrote in a post titled" A Cure for Cancer? Not so fast."
"However, as experience has taught us many times, the gap in a successful mouse experiment to the effective and stimulating application of stimulating laboratory concepts to help bedside cancer patients is in fact a long and treacherous journey , full of unforeseen and unforeseen obstacles. .
"It is likely to take some time to prove the benefit of this new approach to cancer treatment. And unfortunately – based on other similar claims of innovative technologies for cancer treatment – chances are it will not be successful. "
Lichtenfeld added: "We hope that this approach will also bear fruit and be successful. At the same time, we must always warn that the process for getting this mouse treatment for man is not always a simple and uncomplicated journey. "
Dr. Ben Neel, director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health, told The New York Post that "cancer is a multiple disease, and it is highly unlikely that this company has found a & cure; for cancer more than a single cure for infections. "
He said that "most likely, this statement is another in a long line of false spurious, irresponsible and cruel promises to cancer patients."
Publish or … search?
Morad said the AEBi team chooses to use its meager resources to do more research than to publish their research in medical journals.
The company wants to focus on "advancing the research and developing more targeted peptides. It takes a lot of work and we are a small business, "he told The Times of Israel. "We can not afford it. Publishing an article requires a lot of effort and a lot of money, and we can not afford it.
He added: "If we were a big company with lots of resources, that would be the first thing we would do. If I have $ 100,000, how do I spend it? ", He asked. "Advancing research and finding more and more target peptides, or doing many experiments to write an article? What would you do if you had to choose?
In the conventional developmental process, medical researchers who make a discovery gather their material and send a paper about it to legitimate medical journals in the hope that the journals' editorial committees validate their findings and publish the finding. The higher the prestige of the publication, the greater the apparent value of the discovery. Researchers do not need to pay legitimate medical journals to publish their findings.
An "octopus" armed with peptides
The drug the company hopes to develop "will be a personalized medication that will be tailored to the specific cancer of each patient," Morad said. "Each person will receive the specific cancer drug."
The treatment, which the company calls MuTaTo (Multi-Target Toxin), is a family of molecules armed with peptides that have the ability to interact with a wide variety of proteins expressed by cancer cells. Instead of targeting only one type of protein, the molecules have the ability to attack multiple proteins at the same time, Morad said. "We created a multiple attack against cancer," he said.
"Think of the arms of an octopus," he elaborated. "The octopus in this case is the molecule, and at the end of each arm there are peptides that interact with proteins and inhibit their action." This interaction allows "toxic peptides" attached to many of the octopus arms to penetrate the cancer cell. and destroy it from within.
The results of the pre-clinical tests, Morad said, were "very good", showing that the molecules have the ability to kill cancer cells, targeting only them and not other healthy cells. "The effect is specific to cancer cells, leaving out other non-cancer cells, so the side effects will be much smaller. You will have side effects at the level of ibuprofen or regular aspirin. "
The company is now in the process of patenting the concept, he said. Funding to date has come from private investors.
Morad founded AEBi in 2000, having previously worked as a researcher at Peptor Ltd., a biopharmaceutical company based in Rehovot, which in 2003 obtained the green light for a merger with German biopharmaceutical company DeveloGen. Other team members include Dan Aridor, the board chair, who majored in finance at Columbia Business School, according to the company's website.
The third member mentioned on the site is Hanan Itzhaki, the company's chief operating officer. Itzhaki has been with the firm since 2002, having worked previously with InSight Pharmaceutical Ltd., headquartered in Rehovot. He has held a postdoctoral position in the horticulture department of Purdue University in Indiana and holds a PhD from the Hebrew University's Jerusalem College of Agriculture.
Morad said the team now aims to advance their research and reach clinical trials as soon as possible.
The US Food & Drug Administration establishes procedures for drug development and processing as follows: "Before a drug can be tested on people, the pharmaceutical company or sponsor conducts laboratory and animal testing to find out how the drug works and whether it is likely to be safe and work well for humans. Then a series of tests on people are started to determine if the drug is safe when used to treat a disease and whether it offers a real health benefit. "