Targeted chemotherapy to kill all solid tumours developed in preclinical research

Betsy Goodfellow | August 3, 2023 | News story | Research and Development Cancer, Oncology, chemotherapy, pharmaceutical, tumour 

Researchers from the City of Hope organisation in the US have released a study confirming the development of AOH1996, a pill that supposedly can kill all active cancer cells without disrupting the reproduction of healthy stem cells. The drug was produced from a protein that was previously thought to be far too challenging for targeted therapy, but preclinical research has proved that it has the ability to annihilate solid tumours successfully.

While the investigation is currently in a phase 1 clinical trial, Linda Malkas, professor in Molecular Oncology at City of Hope, has been working on this development for over two decades. She has described the pill as a “snowstorm that closes a key airline hub, shutting down all flights in and out only in planes carrying cancer cells”, and has confirmed that the results are extremely promising.

Malkas stated: “Most targeted therapies focus on a single pathway, allowing the cancer cells to mutate and eventually become resistant.” This pill, however, targets a cancerous variant of PCNA, which is critical in DNA replication and repair.

Scientists have tested the drug with many different variations of cancer including ovarian, prostate, lung, cervical, brain, breast and skin, and have found exceedingly positive results throughout. Researchers on the study are hopeful that the drug could also be used in combination therapies, as it makes cancer cells more susceptible to chemical agents that cause chromosomal damage. Ongoing clinical trials in humans are currently being carried out and researchers are expecting positive results.

Long Gu, the lead author of the study, commented: “No one has ever targeted PCNA as a therapeutic because it was viewed as ‘undruggable,’ but clearly City of Hope was able to develop an investigational medicine for a challenging protein target.”

Rebecca Lee

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