A very important step in the fight against cancer. Researchers from the City of Hope, one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the United States, today released a study explaining how they developed a chemotherapy therapy targeted that seems to annihilate everyone solid tumours in preclinical research. The experimental small molecule being developed by City of Hope selectively disrupts DNA replication and repair in cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells unaffected. This therapy targets PCNA, a protein previously considered too difficult to treat, but crucial in DNA replication and repair in enlarging tumours. The drug dubbed AOH1996 is undergoing Phase 1 clinical trials in humans at the City of Hope itself.
The results have just been published in the journal Cell Chemical Biology. While many therapies focus on a single pathway, which allows cancer to mutate and eventually become resistant, the AOH1996 drug developed by Linda Malkas and his team demonstrated promising efficacy in suppressing tumor growth in several cell and animal models, without causing toxicity. “PCNA is like a major air terminal hub containing multiple air gates. The data suggest that PCNA is uniquely altered in cancer cells and this fact allowed us to design a drug that only targeted the form of PCNA in cancer cells. Our cancer pill is like a snowstorm that closes all inbound and outbound flights only on planes carrying cancer cells,” said Malkas, author of the new study published today in Cell Chemical Biology.
“The results have been promising. AOH1996 works by interrupting the reproductive cycle of cancer cells, without affecting healthy stem cells. This approach was made possible by the discovery that the PCNA protein is a unique target in cancer cells. The investigational AOH1996 therapy has been successfully tested on tumor cells derived from several types of cancer, including breast, prostate, brain, ovarian, cervical, skin, and lung. Its selective inhibitory action on PCNA in cancer cells has been shown to kill these cells without affecting the reproductive cycle of healthy stem cells. This study represents a milestone in cancer research and offers new hope for the development of personalized and targeted therapies for patients suffering from different forms of cancer. The possibility of combining AOH1996 with other therapies, such as cisplatin chemotherapy, could open new avenues for cancer treatment and further enhance the therapy’s ongoing human clinical trial at City of Hope. City of Hope has a history of groundbreaking translational cancer research, including the development of synthetic human insulin and monoclonal antibodies used in life-saving cancer drugs. In the future, researchers will continue to investigate the mode of action of AOH1996 to further improve ongoing clinical therapy in humans. Individuals interested in participating in the Phase 1 clinical trial can check eligibility requirements at clinicaltrials.gov and, if eligible, contact 626-218-1133 or visit the City of Hope Clinical Trials webpage.