In recent months, the department of molecular biology in the Integrated Cancer Prevention Center headed by Prof. Nadir Arber and Dr. Shiran Shapira, head of the molecular biology laboratory, conducted trials on lung and colon cancer cells, achieving dramatic results and eliminating some 70% of the carcinogenic cells.
The scientists believe the drug will be found as effective for all cancer types.
The anti-cancer drug “Gammora” was developed by Israeli Zion Biomedic, a sister company of Zion Pharmaceuticals, which develops a drug that eliminates the Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), in collaboration with Prof. Avraham Loyter from the Institute of Life Science in the Hebrew University who developed the drug, and Prof. Zev Sthoeger, director of the AIDS Institute at the Kaplan Medical Center.
The drug’s action was described in a statement released by Zion Biomedic: “Gammora works with unique peptides (short protein segments) derived from the HIV integrase protein. This protein is expressed by the virus and is required for the viral infection process. The peptides cause multiple copies of the viral DNA to enter the infected cell instead of just one. This triggers the cell’s apoptosis mechanism. The benefit of the new drug is that it targets only the cells infected by the virus while leaving the healthy ones unharmed. Hence, no harsh side effects are expected to the Gammora therapy. Moreover, introducing the peptide to carcinogenic cells with non-functional DNA will cause these cells to die so that when administered with DNA molecules to cancer patients, the tumor will be destroyed.”
Several months ago, Gammora was reported to have achieved unprecedented results in HIV research held by Zion Pharmaceuticals’ Chief Scientist, Dr. Eynat Finkelshtein at the Kaplan Medical Center: up to 97% of the virus was eliminated within mere 8 days of therapy given to HIV patients. Clinical trials in humans are expected to start in the coming months.
Both companies – Zion Biomedic and Zion Pharmaceuticals – are now preparing for conducting clinical trials on humans with cancer and HIV. The experts say the drug’s registration process will be short, taking advantage of the FDA’s accelerated registration process of six to 12 months.