Cure cancer in sight, say Israeli scientists, but unsafe critics


Israeli scientists say they will develop a cancer cure next year – an unlikely prospect, according to world leaders in cancer treatment and treatment innovation.

In December, Nobel laureate James Allison, who invented immunotherapy, said, "We'll soon get close to some cancers," citing the progress of some forms, including melanoma. But "the world will never be cancer free."

Today, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd in Israel claims to have proved it wrong by using a web of small protein fragments called peptides that can wrap cancer cells like an octopus, attacking tumors from various angles, and reaching areas in which other treatment molecules are too big to catch.

They say that peptides are so delicate that they should fly under the radar of the immune system, avoiding tumor counterattacks and side effects like nausea and brain cancer.

Critics say the method is promising and unprecedented, but the claims of "cure" are exaggerated, since the only study was conducted on mice, no one saw the results of that study and even the inventors admit that human testing will take years to start and complete.

Peptides have long been considered for the treatment of cancer, and many scientists are working on similar approaches. But the claims of a

Peptides have long been considered for the treatment of cancer, and many scientists are working on similar approaches. But the claims of a

Peptides have long been considered for the treatment of cancer, and many scientists are working on similar approaches. But the claims of a "cure" are overloaded because they performed only a "first exploratory study on mice" and some tests on petri dishes.

"Clearly we all share the aspirational hope that they are correct," said Len Lichtenfeld, MD, medical director of ACS, in an email and has since posted on his blog, adding, "It is certainly possible that this approach work.

"Unfortunately, we should be aware that this is far from proven as an effective treatment for people with cancer, much less a cure."

He cautions that the researchers did not publish data to support their claim of success in their mouse tests, they just gave an interview to a local newspaper.

His description of an "exploratory" test in mice is vague.

And this is certainly not the first time a team claims to have found a cure for cancer.

There are some significant gaps between finding a treatment with potential and making it work, however.

"Our hopes are always on the side of new discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer," said Lichtenfeld.

"We are living in a time when many exciting breakthroughs are affecting the care of cancer patients. We hope that this approach will also bear fruit and be successful.

"At the same time, we must always warn that the process for obtaining this mouse treatment for man is not always a simple and uncomplicated journey.

"As experience has taught us so many times, the gap from a successful mouse experiment to an effective and beneficial application of stimulating laboratory concepts to help bedside cancer patients is in fact a long and treacherous journey, full unforeseen and unforeseen obstacles. "


Despite the enormous gains from innovation in cancer treatment, we are still far from eliminating the disease, with more than 18 million new cases per year and 8.2 million deaths.

Immunotherapy is the new wonder treatment, winning the Nobel Prize last year, while training the patient's immune system to fight cancer itself, bypassing the patient's immune system issues by reacting to drugs.

But this is expensive, still being implemented in general care, and even the inventors, James Allison of the USA, and Tasuku Honjo of Japan, would not market it as a cure.

Aside from that, there have been steps to deliver more directly drugs like chemotherapy to the tumor to avoid strenuous and sometimes excruciating side effects.

Currently, the main method approved by the FDA to do this is with antibodies, which were perfect vehicles for the delivery of specific drugs.

However, antibody molecules are often too large to reach the brain for brain tumors. And antibodies tend to bind to parts of the immune system that may have toxic effects on the liver and bone marrow.

Peptides, amino acids connected in a chain, have been considered a perfect alternative. They are cheap to do and regular, are less likely to cause side effects and can effectively enter specific locations without affecting neighboring areas.

Three peptides are already used to treat elements of cancer – mainly directed to hormones that feed tumors, while other drugs kill the tumor.

However, many see the potential of peptides to one day do everything in a multifaceted attack – and this is what the Israeli team claims to have achieved.

The big problem with peptides, according to a study published last year, is that they are usually too delicate to be compatible with tumors, and have short half-lives, which means they have no resistance to attack tumors.

Attempts were made to prolong their midlife and strengthen them, but so far unsuccessful.

"My colleagues here at ACS tell me that peptide or peptide display techniques, while very powerful research tools for selecting high affinity ligands, have had a difficult path as potential drugs," said Lichtenfeld.

And if [the Israeli group] is just beginning the clinical trials, they have some difficult experiences ahead.


Evolution Accelerated Biotechnologies Ltd (AEBi) conducted no clinical trials in humans and concluded only one study in mice, according to their profile in the Jerusalem Post.

This is far from what is needed to establish a worthy treatment, much less a cure.

As a result, most cancer specialists will dismiss the study as, at best, a work in progress.

Cure claims are, at best, excessive stretching.

However, the methods are based on researching peptides for the treatment of cancer and provide some new ideas on how they can become stronger.

CEO Ilan Morad compared the method he calls MuTaTo (multi-target toxin) to the drug cocktails used to attack the AIDS virus from various angles at the same time.

He says the delicate chain of only 12 amino acids at a time would consist of "several cancer peptides for each cancer cell at a time" and contain "a strong peptidic toxin that would specifically kill cancer cells."

"The likelihood of having multiple mutations that would modify all target receptors simultaneously decreases drastically with the number of targets used," Morad said.

"Instead of attacking the receptors one at a time, we attack the receptors every three times – not even the cancer can mutate into three receptors at the same time."

Can this become a cure within a year?

There are many elements to complete which are a great request for a 12 month schedule.

First, AEBi says it is trying to patent specific peptide structures.

Second, they plan to conduct tests on humans they say will take a few years. So far, they have performed Petri dish tests and their "first experimental experiment with mice."

Third, the goal is for the treatment to be personalized by taking biopsies from patients to find out which receptors need to be targeted. This will take time to be fabricated.

Dan Aidor, AEBi's board chairman, insisted the results were "consistent and repeatable," adding, "We believe we will offer a full cure for cancer within a year.

"Our cancer cure will be effective from day one, will last a few weeks and will have minimal or minimal side effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market."

But Dr. Lichtenfield warned readers to accept the allegations with a pinch of considerable salt.

This is not the first time a team has said the same thing.

He recommends a "well-established program of experiments" to "better define how this works – and may not work – as you move from the lab bench to the clinic."

"It will probably take some time to prove the benefit of this new approach to cancer treatment," he explains. "And unfortunately – based on other similar claims of innovative technologies for cancer treatment – chances are it will not be successful."


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