Cancer breakthrough hopes as ‘groundbreaking’ drug kills tumours in early study

Scientists have developed a “groundbreaking” cancer drug that was able to destroy all tumours during an early study.

Codenamed AOH1996, the molecule in the pill has been shown to kill a mutated protein that helps cancer grow and multiply while leaving other cells undamaged.

This protein, called proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), was previously understood to be “undruggable”.

Researchers used the pill to treat 70 different cancer cells, including cells taken from breast, prostate, brain, ovarian, cervical, skin, and lung cancer. Remarkably, the pill was effective against them all.


The new drug is the product of two decades of research by the City of Hope Hospital in Los Angeles, one of the largest cancer research organisations in the US.

The study was published in the journal Cell Chemical Biology journal and involved using normal human cells as a control.

It comes after Joe Biden claimed last week his government had “ended cancer as we know it”.

Curing cancer has been an important goal for President Biden who relaunched a campaign in 2022 called the Cancer Moonshot Operation, aimed at reducing cancer death by half in the next 25 years.


Long Gu, lead author of the study, said: “No one has ever targeted PCNA as a therapeutic because it was viewed as ‘undruggable,’ but clearly City of Hope was able to develop an investigational medicine for a challenging protein target.”

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