By Kim Polacek
An Israeli biopharmaceutical company is making headlines worldwide claiming it has discovered the cure for cancer. Scientists at Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi) say their new therapy is the equivalent to a “cancer antibiotic” that can destroy all of a person’s cancer cells.
The experimental treatment, called MuTaTo (multi-target toxin), is combination therapy comprised of several peptide molecules. There are many different types of receptors that decorate the surface of a cancer cell, which are often used as therapeutic targets for cancer drugs. The AEBi therapy reportedly introduces a peptide chain that connects all those receptors, similar to the way a power line connects to a series of power poles. The opposite end of the peptide chain is linked to a toxin to create the MuTaTo, which, according to the Israeli scientists, can then penetrate the cancer cell and kill it.
AEBi claims that, after one treatment, a patient would be able to stop therapy and their cancer would be cured. The company also says this therapy would work for all cancers. Moffitt Cancer Center researcher Dr. Vincent Luca says that, while the approach is scientifically interesting, it is highly unlikely that this one treatment would work for all cancers.
“The problem is that many good cells and bad cells look alike, and it is difficult to specifically target a cancer-killing toxin to tumor cells without damaging healthy cells,” he said.
Right now, there is no published data describing AEBi’s research methods and the scientists have only tested MuTaTo on mice. Dr. Luca says because of this, it is much too soon to know whether this treatment could be a viable option for cancer patients.
“Peptides are a rapidly growing class of therapeutics, yet very few peptide-based drugs have received FDA approval for oncology indications. The Israeli scientists’ reports of a ‘universal cancer cure’ have not been substantiated through publications in peer-reviewed articles, nor have they been demonstrated in human clinical trials,” he said. “Their claims should be met with extreme skepticism.”
AEBi says it is close to taking this experimental therapy to human clinical trials and believes that this treatment could become commercially available within a year.