Israeli scientists claim they will have ‘complete cure’ for cancer in a year

Picture: iStock

Picture: iStock

Experts raised their concerns regarding the claims, with one dismissing them as ‘selling unicorns’.

A team of Israeli scientists claim they may have found the first complete cure for cancer, reported The Jerusalem Post at the end of January 2019, Mpumalanga News reports.

“We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor while speaking of a new treatment being developed by his company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi).

Aridor, chairperson of the board of AEBi, and CEO Dr Ilan Morad say their treatment, which they call MuTaTo (multi-target toxin) is essentially on the scale of a cancer antibiotic – a disruptive technology of the highest order.

“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,” Aridor said. “Our solution will be both generic and personal.”

Dr. Ilan Moran and Dan Aridor.

The treatment is based around small fragments of proteins called peptides which are designed to target cancer cells.

Morad explained that some existing cancer treatments hone in on targets on or in the cancer cell, but if the cell mutates, the treatment can become ineffective.

MuTaTo features a trio of peptides and a toxin that launches a three-pronged attack on cancer receptor proteins. The treatment could also have the potential to obliterate slow-growing cancer stem cells, which drugs designed to kill faster cells can fail to eliminate.

Selling unicorns

The statements above have raised concerns from experts who argue such claims are misleading and give false hope to patients and their loved ones, reported Newsweek.

As news stories hailing the discovery spread online, other cancer experts urged the public to approach the report with caution.

Dr. Darren Saunders, a cancer biologist at the University of New South Wales, Australia, tweeted the researchers were “selling unicorns”.

Professor Lawrence Young, director of the Warwick Cancer Research Centre at the University of Warwick, U.K., told Newsweek he was concerned the team had not appeared to publish their data in a peer-reviewed journal, and that no clinical trials had been performed.

Julia Frater, senior cancer information nurse at the charity Cancer Research UK said: “Unsubstantiated claims that there will be a cure for all cancers in a year are irresponsible and can be misleading for patients. This oversimplifies the fact that cancer is more than 200 different diseases, which behave differently and pose different treatment challenges. This is why finding a single cure for all cancers is unlikely.”

Professor Chris Bunce, who specializes in translational cancer biology at the University of Birmingham, UK, said widely used treatments such as chemotherapy were previously regarded as radical and the technology being talked about may be another step in that journey. But based on the information available, the claim that it will provide a “complete cure for cancer” is unfounded.

Phage display technologies

MuTaTo is based on SoAP technology which belongs to the phage display group of technologies.

In 2018, a team of scientists won the Nobel Prize for their work on phage display in the directed evolution of new proteins – in particular, for the production of antibody therapeutics.

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.

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