A Cancer Cure in the Next Year? Not Exactly

Israeli biotech company makes a bold claim
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2019 6:22 PM CST
A stock photo of a microscope.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – There's a decent chance you saw the headline, which quickly made its way across the Internet on Tuesday: "A Cure for Cancer? Israeli Scientists Say They Think They Found One." The Jerusalem Post article contains bold quotes from the biotech company behind the treatment: "We believe we will offer in a year's time a complete cure for cancer" that will "have no or minimal side-effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market," says the chairman of the board of Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies. The Post also offers an explanation of the science behind the treatment. It revolves around cancer-targeting peptides that are married with a strong toxin; together, they would find and kill the cancer cells, and the researchers explain the advantages their idea has over current treatment options.

The final lines note that, as far as humans are concerned, it's still an idea: The "first exploratory mice experiment" has thus far been concluded. CNBC takes issue with the timeline, especially as far as any US treatments are concerned. Even when companies get the OK to fast-track their trials, it can take six or seven years to go from "mouse to market." It notes the company adjusted its claim in an email, saying "complete cure for cancer meaning that we will have the complete solution ready for first tryout in humans." The CMO of the American Cancer Society sounded caution, too, in a blog post. Among Dr. Len Lichtenfeld's points: The company hasn't published any clinical results, and "peptide display techniques ... have had a difficult road as potential drugs. If this group is just beginning clinical trials, they may well have some difficult experiments ahead." (Cancer deaths in the US recently hit a milestone.)

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