A research group based in Israel claims they'll have a complete cure for cancer within the year.
But experts are doubtful, and with good reason.
Is the claim by Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd (AEBI) legit? Could it really have a cure for cancer within the year?
The question here earns a rare designation from VERIFY. This claim is UNVERIFIABLE.
Simply put, there’s not enough evidence to definitively prove or disprove the claim. The experts who published their claims firmly say they will have a cure, but the experts we spoke to outside the AEBI were skeptical.
There’s nothing wrong with remaining optimistic about a claim like this, but it’s worth a dose of skepticism.
WHAT WE FOUND
Without going into too much scientific jargon, the AEBI claims to have found a way to directly target and wipe out cancer cells without harming the surrounding healthy cells.
The scientists claim to have identified a way to attach multiple “peptides” to a cancer cell and then destroy the peptide and cell. For reference, peptides are molecular compounds made up of two or more amino acids.
In an interview with the “Jerusalem Post,” the chairman of AEBI said that they “believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer.”
But unlike typical medical discoveries, AEBI didn’t publish its findings in a medical journal. Instead, it published a roughly two-page “proof of concept” that identified some of its testing results.
According to a statement by Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, the Interim Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society, the lack of a detailed publication is a sign for caution.
“This is a news report based on limited information provided by researchers and a company working on this technology,” he wrote in a blog post. “It apparently has not been published in the scientific literature where it would be subject to review, support and/or criticism from knowledgeable peers.”
He added multiple “key points” about why the results should be viewed with a skeptical eye:
“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.
This is based on a mouse experiment which is described as 'exploratory.' It appears at this point there is not a well-established program of experiments which could better define how this works—and may not work—as it moves from the laboratory bench to the clinic.
We all have hope that a cure for cancer can be found and found quickly. It is certainly possible this approach may be work. However, as experience has taught us so many times, the gap from a successful mouse experiment to effective, beneficial application of exciting laboratory concepts to helping cancer patients at the bedside is in fact a long and treacherous journey, filled with unforeseen and unanticipated obstacles.
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.”
With the lack of any concrete evidence or methodology, and the skepticism of experts at the American Cancer Society, the VERIFY team is taking a rare route and calling this claim “unverified.”
“We must be aware that this is far from proven as an effective treatment for people with cancer,” Dr. Lichtenfeld wrote, “let alone a cure.”