After Israeli scientists claimed that a cure for cancer will be found within a year, hopes inevitably rose that the disease had finally been beaten.
However, the claims, made by Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd in Israel, have now been shot down by experts in cancer care and treatment.
The Israeli scientists claimed that they were able to use a web of small protein fragments called peptides to wrap around cancer cells like an octopus, attacking tumors from all angles and reaching areas that other treatment molecules are too big to get to.
But Len Lichtenfeld, MD, chief medical officer of the ACS, said that ‘we must be aware that this is far from proven as an effective treatment for people with cancer, let alone a cure’.
In a blog, he wrote: ‘My colleagues here at American Cancer Society tell me phage or peptide display techniques, while very powerful research tools for selecting high affinity binders, have had a difficult road as potential drugs.
‘If this group is just beginning clinical trials, they may well have some difficult experiments ahead.’
Dr Lichtenfield added: ‘It will likely take some time to prove the benefit of this new approach to the treatment of cancer. And unfortunately – based on other similar claims of breakthrough technologies for the treatment of cancer – the odds are that it won’t be successful…
‘We are living in an era where many exciting advances are impacting the care of patients with cancer. We hope that this approach also bears fruit and is successful.
‘At the same time, we must always offer a note of caution that the process to get this treatment from mouse to man is not always a simple and uncomplicated journey.’
Dr Vince Luca, assistant professor of Cancer Biology at Moffitt Cancer Centre, echoed the concerns, saying that ‘very few peptide-based drugs have received FDA approval for oncology indications’.
He added to MailOnline: ‘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.’
Julia Frater, Cancer Research UK’s senior cancer information nurse, told Yahoo News: ‘Unsubstantiated claims that there will be a cure for all cancers in a year are irresponsible and can be misleading for patients.
‘This oversimplifies the fact that cancer is more than 200 different diseases, which behave differently and pose different treatment challenges. This is why finding a single cure for all cancers is unlikely.
‘Cancer Research UK’s ambition is that 3 in 4 people will survive their cancer by 2034. If you have questions about cancer, you can contact our nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040.’