AOH1996 Is an Innovative 'Cancer-Killing Pill'

Many people have aspired to find a cancer cure. Now, a pill might provide some insight into that dream.

The questioned medication, AOH1996, nicknamed the "cancer-killing pill," explicitly targets the protein that encourages cancer cells to proliferate and spread across the body.

It inhibits proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) with a tiny molecule. As of August 2023, it is being evaluated in Phase I clinical studies for the treatment of solid cancers.

Cancer is a condition in which aberrant cells continue to proliferate uncontrolled, causing the tissue to be destroyed. Roughly 10 million fatalities, or approximately one in six deaths, were due to cancer in 2020, making it the top cause of death globally.

According to a recent study published in Cell Chemical Biology, City of Hope researchers have discovered a novel method to treat cancer using a tailored chemotherapy tablet that can eliminate solid tumors.

AOH1996 differs from other targeted cancer therapies in this respect, where other approaches may cause a tumor to mutate and develop more resistance to treatment.

PCNA, according to City of Hope Professor Linda Malkas, is comparable to a significant airline terminal hub with several jet gates. The research team created a medication specifically targeting the kind of PCNA seen in cancer cells since data indicate that PCNA is distinctively changed in cancer cells.

The novel cancer medication acts like a snowstorm closing a significant airport, stopping only flights from and to aircraft carrying cancer cells.

Results have been promising. AOH1996 can suppress tumor growth as a monotherapy or combination treatment in cell and animal models without resulting in toxicity. The investigational chemotherapeutic is currently in Phase 1 clinical trial in humans at City of Hope.

- Malkas

Treatment of lung, breast, prostate, brain, ovarian, cervical, skin, and skin cancers with AOH1996 has shown effective. It kills specific cells by stopping them from replicating typically. The mechanism that prevents DNA-damaged cells from spreading throughout the body is called apoptosis. To assess this medicine for potential future use, more clinical studies are planned.

Lead author Long Gu claims that no one has ever tried to treat PCNA since it was supposed to be "undruggable." Yet, it is clear that the City of Hope successfully developed an experimental drug for such a challenging protein target.

Gu concludes: "We discovered that PCNA is one of the potential causes of increased nucleic acid replication errors in cancer cells. Now that we know the problem area and can inhibit it, we will dig deeper to understand the process to develop more personalized, targeted cancer medicines."


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