The study, led by Professor Malka Cohen-Armon and her team at the Sackler School of Medicine at the University of Tel Aviv (TAU), in collaboration with the team of Dr. Talia Golan, from the Center of Cancer Research at the Sheba Medical Center, was recently published in Oncotarget.
Specifically, the study found that when PJ34 is injected intravenously it destroys human cancer cells during mitosis, the scientific term for cell division.
The research was carried out with xenografts, human pancreas cancer transplantation in immunocompromised mice. A month after being injected with the molecule daily for 14 days, "there was a 90% reduction in pancreatic cells in the tumor," Cohen-Armon told The Jerusalem Post. "In a mouse, the tumor disappeared completely."
"This molecule causes an abnormality during mitosis of human cancer cells, causing rapid cell death," said Cohen-Armon, adding that "therefore, cell multiplication itself resulted in cell death in treated cancer cells. ".
In addition, the scientist indicated that the PJ34 seems to have no impact on healthy cells, therefore, "no adverse effects were observed." The mice continued to grow and gain weight as usual.
Cohen-Armon added that he first published about this mechanism in 2017, when it was used to effectively treat triple negative breast cancer implanted in xenografts.
Although Cohen-Armon said the team did not specifically study whether the treatment could prolong a patient's life or not, it can be assumed that such an effect could result if cancer cells are removed.
The scientist estimates that the treatment will take time to be available for patients "at least two years, on the condition that we obtain sufficient funds."
First, the group will test the treatment in pigs and then request permission to administer this molecule to humans. "I am optimistic," Cohen-Armon concluded.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult to treat. Most people diagnosed with the disease do not live five years after diagnosis.