Cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of death worldwide. However, treatment options are improving for many tumors. Now, new study results on an anti-cancer pill bring hope as it is said to be effective against 70 types of cancer.
A remedy that can destroy 70 types of tumors? That’s what everyone wishes for in the fight against cancer, which still ranks among the top causes of death worldwide. The largest cancer research center in the United States, City of Hope, has now published a new study that sounds promising.
The focus of the study is on the drug AOH1996, which was first administered to a cancer patient last year. It targets a specific protein called PCNA (Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen), which plays a crucial role in the replication and repair of tumor cells when it is in its mutated form.
The drug attacks PCNA, thus inhibiting the growth and spread of cancer cells. The best part: The drug is not toxic to healthy cells.
AOH1996 Targets Protein in Cancer Cells
“Most targeted therapies focus on a single pathway, allowing insidious cancer to mutate and eventually become resistant,” says leading researcher Linda Malkas, Professor in the Department of Molecular Diagnostics and Experimental Therapeutics at City of Hope, who is actively involved in the drug’s research, in a press release.
“PCNA is like a large hub at an airport with multiple gates. Data suggest that PCNA in cancer cells is altered in a unique way, and this fact allowed us to develop a drug that specifically targets the form of PCNA in cancer cells,”Linda Malkas
To better explain the principle, Malkas draws further examples from aviation. AOH1996 is like a “snowstorm” that causes the hub of an airline to close, bringing all incoming and outgoing flights carrying cancer cells to a halt.
Medication Tested in Cell and Animal Models
The results published now provide hope. The drug has been tested in the laboratory on more than 70 types of cancer, resulting in the killing of cancer cells without interrupting the reproductive cycle of healthy stem cells. It has proven effective in preclinical research for treating breast, prostate, brain, ovarian, cervical, skin, and lung cancer cells.
“The results were promising. AOH1996 can suppress tumor growth as a monotherapy or combination treatment in cell and animal models without causing toxicity,” adds Malkas. Furthermore, AOH1996 was found to make cancer cells more susceptible to other chemical agents, such as the drug cisplatin, a chemotherapeutic.
This suggests that AOH1996 could also be used in combination therapies and contribute to the development of new chemotherapeutics.
German Physicians Positive about AOH1996
German medical experts also view the drug as promising. “In any cancer therapy, the key is to target only the cancer cells and leave the healthy cells undisturbed. This is the major challenge – both with drugs like chemotherapy and with radiation,” says physician Christoph Specht in an interview with “RTL.”
“And with this medication, it seems – to put it cautiously – that it is indeed possible to target the multiplication of cancer cells, causing these cells to die, while leaving the healthy cells to multiply healthily and undisturbed,”Christoph Specht
Positive Results in Animal Cells Further Encourage
The fact that the drug has shown successes not only in vitro but also in animal cells is further encouraging. “The pill seems to destroy almost all tumors,” Specht continues.
The next phase involves further testing the drug on humans. Only then will it be seen whether the successes achieved in the previous experiments can be replicated. To gain approval, a drug must go through all three clinical study phases, which typically takes more than ten years.
Phases of Drug Development
Preclinical Phase Effectiveness and Safety: Newly developed substances are initially tested for their effectiveness and safety in cell cultures (in vitro) and animal models (in vivo).
Clinical Phase Phase I – Study with Few Healthy Volunteers
If the preclinical tests are positive, the substance is tested on healthy adult volunteers. This phase mainly focuses on determining the absorption and breakdown of the substance, as well as the optimal dosage.
Phase II – Studies with Few Patients
Based on the dosage determined in the Phase I study, the substance is tested on voluntary patients. The focus is on effectiveness (compared to placebo and conventional medications), tolerability, and dosage.
Phase III – Studies with Many Patients
Physicians in many countries test the substance on a large group of voluntary patients. This helps identify less common side effects.
Approval Review by Regulatory Authorities: Experts review the results of all studies. If the assessment is positive, the drug can be approved and prescribed to patients.
Phase IV – Post-Approval Studies
The drug is further tested in additional studies, such as to assess its interactions with other substances or its potential for treating other diseases.
(Source: Fraunhofer CIMD)
Nine Measures to Reduce Your Cancer Risk
Cancer and prevention researchers have long emphasized the importance of prevention. Alongside intense physical activity, the following measures are recommended:
These preventive measures include:
- Avoiding obesity
- Engaging in physical activity daily
- Eating healthily
- Not smoking
- Drinking as little alcohol as possible
- Avoiding carcinogenic substances
- Protecting against UV radiation
- Getting vaccinated against cancer (Hepatitis B; HPV)
- Utilizing cancer screening offers
Original source: This information was Initially covered by Focus and has been translated for our readers.