Israeli scientists claim to have a cancer cure

Israeli scientists claim to have a cancer cure

Israeli scientists claim to have created a cancer treatment, MuTaTo, which uses small peptides to attack cancer tumours on a number of fronts simultaneously, so preventing the cancer cells from developing drug resistance; they claim it can also kill cancer stem cells (3).

Scientists at AEBi (Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd.), a company founded in 2000 by Dan Aridor have announced this new treatment, which they have named MuTaTo (multi-target toxin) claiming it has 'the potential to transform the cancer industry the same way antibiotics revolutionised modern medicine in 1945'.

The treatment (1) uses a complicated laboratory technique known as ‘phage display’ (2). Phage display was created by G. Smith in 1985 as a method for presenting polypeptides on the surface of lysogenic filamentous bacteriophages. AEBi use viruses that are known to infect bacteria (bacteriophages) to study the interactions between certain proteins, peptides (a chain of two or more amino acids) and DNA.

The phage display method is used to produce large amounts of peptides, proteins and antibodies for the medical biotechnology industry and it allows for the creation of libraries of up to 10 billion different types of peptide which can then be combined together to create antibodies or ‘molecule cocktails’ to be used in drug therapy.

AEBi uses this same method with peptides which are smaller, cheaper, easier to both produce and regulate compared to antibodies, according to AEBi CEO, Dr. Ilan Morad.

Morad’s team first identified the fundamental flaws preventing current cancer drugs curing cancer. For example, most cancer drugs focus on inhibiting a specific target in the cancer cell; this often leads to problems when the cancer cells mutate and become resistant to the drug. So MuTaTo attacks the cancer cell in multiple ways preventing a single defensive action and killing the cancer cell.

Firstly, MuTaTo combats the mutagenic nature of cancer cells. While most anti-cancer drugs focus on inhibiting a certain pathway or target on the cancer cell and fail due to further mutations downstream, AEBi’s technology uses a triple-peptide approach (to attack the cancer cell) as well as a strong peptide toxin which the team say will specifically kill cancer cells, making the treatment unaffected by mutations.

Secondly, MuTaTo addresses the detoxification mechanism of cancer cells. When cancer cells undergo stress from drug therapies, they launch a detoxification mechanism which literally breaks down and eliminates the drug from the cancer cell. With MuTaTo, however, the attack is so fast and the toxin so strong that cancer cells do not have time to detoxify the drugs which causes them to lose their function.

Thirdly, MuTaTo kills cancer stem cells. Whereas current cancer treatments target fast-growing cells, they completely miss the most important cancer cells which are cancer stem cells, which are not fast-growing but which are usually responsible for recurrence and metastases after a patient has finished treatment. MuTaTo’s multiple target attack is strong enough to kill cancer stem cells which means that when treatment is finished, there are no cancer stem cells left to regenerate the tumour.

Lastly, some treatments contain large molecules such as antibodies, which are frequently too large to reach cancer tumours, especially once the cancer tumour has formed a protective shield to hide itself from both the immune system and drugs. MuTaTo’s peptides chains are so small (only 12 amino acids long) and have a flexible structure (Morad likens them to an octopus or pieces of spaghetti), allowing them to fit into and around those shields to actually penetrate cancer tumours,  so repeated courses of the drug can be administered.

Morad further claims that MuTaTo does not carry the typical side effects seen with other cancer treatments, because they are not targeted and specific enough. MuTaTo, with its multi-angled approach, has a high specificity when it comes to recognising which cells to kill and which non-cancer cells to leave alone. Morad claims this will dramatically reduce side-effects (3).

The company is preparing to begin clinical trials within a few years.

Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist and a founder of CANCERactive said, "Forgive me for sounding cynical. While millions of people would love their to be a cure for cancer especially one that uses peptides rather than damaging chemicals, I think we should wait for some research before we start jumping up and down. I am reminded of Burzynski."

Go to: The Mayo Clinic, peptides and cancer



1. Ilan Morad AEBI -

2. Phage display—A powerful technique for immunotherapy; Hum Vavvine Immuno,2012 Dec 1; 8(12): 1817–1828.  -

3. The Jerusalem Post -

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