Cancer cells
Cancer cellsiStock

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.

"Moreover, Gammora was named as outstanding cancer research paper during Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2017, the international annual conference for digestive disease held last week in Chicago. Some 4,000 papers were submitted to the conference, with approx. 5% of them winning the 'outstanding paper' recognition."

Dr. Shiran Shapira, head of the Molecular Biology laboratory in the Integrated Cancer Prevention Center at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center said, "The DDW has recognized the innovative nature and importance of our work. The considerable progress we achieved in our research and tests held to the drug's efficacy in destroying cancer cells has allowed us to submit a short summary of our findings to the Conference committee. We were then informed that our paper has been ranked among the top 5% of papers submitted from all parts of the world."

The DDW is the largest meeting forum of professionals of the digestive system health. It provides a meeting place for the target audience that fits the business goals of its members through exposure to key decision makers in the field of gastrointestinal medicine. This year's conference has attracted over 14,000 participants. During the four days of the conference, the participants listened to 5,400 original lectures, presentations and posters. Some 300 exhibitors presented the most innovative technological developments.

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.