Foreign cancer specialists dispute claims by a group of Israeli researchers who claim to have developed a concept that will pave the way for a cure for cancer, one American expert rejecting it as likely “another in a long line of false, irresponsible and ultimately cruel false promises for patients cancer. "
On Tuesday, the CEO of the research company told The Times of Israel that she did not publish her research in medical journals, which is the norm, because she “cannot afford it,” but that the results of her background are clinical trials "Very good." Several Israeli experts who were contacted by The Times of Israel refused to comment on the allegation, some precisely because they were not familiar with the study.
"We are working on a complete cure for cancer," said Ilan Morad, CEO and founder of startup Nes Ziona Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi) in an interview with The Times of Israel on Tuesday, repeating what the Firm did in the Jerusalem Post earlier this week. "We still have a long way to go, but in the end we believe that we will have a cure for all types of cancer patients and with very few side effects."
Morad added that “in about a year,” a firm could begin treating patients through clinical trials, which it hopes to start if it raises funds. Morad said that the family of molecules underlying his intended pathway to treatment was tested in Israeli preclinical human cancer cells in the laboratory and in mice, and was found to be effective in combating cancers such as lung cancer and colon cancer. and head and neck cancer.
Several hospitals and experts in Israel refused to comment on the claims, some noted that they did not have direct information about the study. Other foreign experts voiced sharp warnings about the claims of researchers.
Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the National Division of the American Cancer Society, said on Tuesday that, although Israeli scientists were working "with an interesting approach to interfering with the ability of cancer cells to function," their research "apparently has not been published in the scientific literature where it will be reviewed, supported and / or criticized by knowledgeable colleagues. ”
“We all have hope that a cure for cancer can be found and found quickly. It is possible that such an approach might work, ”he wrote on his blog entitled“ Cancer Remedy? Not so fast."
“However, as experience has taught us a lot, the gap from a successful experiment on mice to the effective, beneficial use of fascinating laboratory concepts to help cancer patients at the bedside of a patient is in fact a long and insidious journey filled with unforeseen and unforeseen obstacles. ".
“It will probably take some time to prove the benefits of this new approach to cancer treatment. And, unfortunately – based on other similar claims about breakthrough cancer treatment technologies – there is a possibility that 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 note with caution that the process of transferring this treatment from mouse to man is not always a simple and simple journey. ”
Dr. Ben Neal, 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 more cancer cure than one." cure for infections. "
He said that "it is more likely that this statement is another in a long series of false, irresponsible and ultimately cruel false promises for cancer patients."
Post or … research?
Morad said that the AEBi team chooses to use their meager means to conduct more research rather than publish their research in medical journals.
The firm wants to focus on “promoting research and developing more targeted peptides. It takes a lot of work, and we are a small company, ”he told The Times of Israel. “We cannot afford it. Publication of the article requires a lot of effort and money, but we can not afford it.
He added: “If we were a big company with a lot of money, it would be first of all. If I have $ 100,000, what will I spend it on? "- he asked. “Promoting research and finding more and more targeted peptides or doing a lot of experiments to write an article?” What would you do if you had to choose?
In the usual development process, medical researchers who make the discovery collect their material and submit a document about it to legitimate medical journals in the hope that the editorial committees of the journals will confirm their findings and publish this discovery. The higher the prestige of the publication, the higher the apparent value of the discovery. Researchers do not have to pay for legal medical journals to publish their findings.
Octopus armed with peptides
According to Morad, the drug that the firm hopes to develop "will be a personalized medicine that will be adapted to the specific types of cancer in each patient." "Everyone will get medicine for their specific cancer."
The treatment, which the company calls MuTaTo (multipurpose toxin), is a family of molecules armed with peptides that can interact with a wide range of proteins expressed by cancer cells. According to Morad, instead of affecting only one type of protein, molecules can simultaneously affect a number of proteins. “We are creating a multiple attack on cancer,” he said.
“Think of the hands of an octopus,” he specified. "In this case, the octopus is a molecule, and at the end of each branch there are peptides that interact with proteins and prevent their action." This interaction allows "toxic peptides" attached to many octopus branches to enter the cancer cell. and destroy it from within.
The results of the preclinical tests, Morad said, were “very good,” showing that the molecules are capable of killing cancer cells by acting only on them, and not on other healthy cells. “The effect is specific for cancer cells, excluding other non-cancer cells, so there will be much less side effects. He will have side effects at the level of ibuprofen or regular aspirin. ”
According to him, the company is currently in the process of patenting this concept. To date, funding has come from private investors.
Morad founded AEBi in 2000, previously worked as a research assistant at Peptor Ltd., a biopharmaceutical firm in Rehovot, which in 2003 received the green light to merge with the German biopharmaceutical firm DeveloGen. Other team members include Dan Aridor, chairman of the board of directors who specialized in finance at the Columbia School of Business, according to the company's website.
The third participant mentioned on the site is Hanan Itzhaki, chief operating officer of the company. Itzhaki has been working in this company since 2002. He previously worked at InSight Pharmaceutical Ltd., located in Rehovot. He held a postdoctoral position at the Faculty of Gardening at Purdue University in Indiana and has a doctorate from the Department of Agriculture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Morad said the team is now seeking to promote their research and pass clinical trials as quickly as possible.
The Food and Drug Administration of the United States establishes procedures for drug development and processing as follows: “Before a drug can be tested in humans, a pharmaceutical company or sponsor conducts laboratory and animal tests to find out how the medicine works and whether it is to be safe and work well in humans. Then a series of human trials begins to determine if the drug is safe when used to treat a disease and if it provides real health benefits. ”