Israeli scientists claim they will develop a cure for cancer within the next year – an unlikely prospect, according to world leaders in cancer care and treatment innovation.
In December, Nobel Prize winner James Allison, who helped develop immunotherapy, said: ‘Soon we’ll get close with some cancers,’ citing progress against some forms including melanoma. But, ‘the world will never be cancer-free.’
Today, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd in Israel claims to have proved him wrong, using a web of small protein fragments called peptides which can wrap around cancer cells like an octopus, attacking tumours from multiple angles and reaching areas that other treatment molecules are too big to get to.
They say the peptides are so delicate that they should fly under the immune system’s radar, preventing counter attacks from the tumour and side effects like nausea and ‘chemo brain’.
Critics say the method is promising and not unheard-of but claims of a ‘cure’ are wildly overstated, since the only study was performed in mice, nobody has seen the results of that study, and even the inventors admit human trials will take years to start and complete.
What’s more, it’s improbable that we will ever develop one singular cure for all cancers, which vary widely.
“It goes without saying, we all share the aspirational hope that they are correct,” Len Lichtenfeld, MD, chief medical officer of the ACS, told DailyMail.com in an email, and since published on his blog.
“Unfortunately, we must be aware that this is far from proven as an effective treatment for people with cancer, let alone a cure.”
The researchers have not published data to back up their claim that this is the most promising treatment to date. The only words published on their ‘exploratory experiment in mice’ is an interview they gave to local paper The Jerusalem Post, claiming success.
That is not enough to warrant excitement or even intrigue, says Dr. Vince Luca, assistant professor of Cancer Biology at Moffitt Cancer Center.
“Peptides are a rapidly growing class of therapeutics, yet very few peptide-based drugs have received United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for oncology indications,” Dr. Luca told DailyMail.com.
“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, and their claims should be met with extreme skepticism.”
That’s not to say it couldn’t work as a treatment in some capacity.
But Dr Lichtenfeld warns there is a big difference between finding a treatment with potential and making it work.
Also, a study suggests patients who visit their doctors with a persistent sore throat should be considered for larynx cancer.
A sore throat combined with shortness of breath, problems swallowing or earache is a greater warning sign of laryngeal cancer than hoarseness alone, new research concludes.
A study of more than 800 patients diagnosed with cancer of the larynx found more than a five per cent risk of cancer when these symptoms showed, compared to 2.7 per cent for hoarseness alone.
The condition is more common in people over the age of 60, and around four times more common in men than women.
The main symptoms include: a change in your voice, such as sounding hoarse, pain or difficulty when swallowing, a lump or swelling in the neck, a long-lasting cough, a persistent sore throat or earache and in severe cases, difficulty breathing.
Some people may also experience bad breath, breathlessness, a high-pitched wheezing noise when breathing, unexplained weight loss, or fatigue.
It is not clear exactly what causes laryngeal cancer, but the risk is increased by smoking tobacco, regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol, a family history of head and neck cancer, an unhealthy diet or exposure to certain chemicals and substances, such as asbestos and coal dust.
Professor Willie Hamilton, who co-wrote the study, said: “This research matters – when Nice guidance for cancer investigation was published there was no evidence from General Practitioner (GP) practices to guide this, nor to inform GPs.
“Crucially, hoarseness serious enough to be reported to GPs does warrant investigation.
“Furthermore, our research has shown the potential severity of some symptom combinations previously thought to be low-risk.”
The research, published in the British Journal of General Practice, was carried out using patient records from more than 600 GP practices as part of the UK’s Clinical Practice Research Datalink. – Guardian.