Scientists Have Created 'Decoy' Molecules That Can Kill Cancer Cells By Fooling Them

Professor Rotem Karni and his team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem presented a new technology to fight cancer. They designed decoy molecules that attract proteins in cancer cells that would otherwise bind with the natural RNA molecules in cancer cells and lose their cancer-promoting activity. 

 “Our technology is a new approach in the war on cancer.   By understanding the biological function of RNA-binding proteins we successfully designed decoy molecules that inhibit these proteins and move us ever closer to creating an anti-cancer drug” shared Professor Karni.

Tests on mice showed that when the cells were injected into healthy mice, the cancer cells did not replicate and, soon after, the tumors died off. The researchers hope their breakthrough will get them closer to creating a drug that targets several types of cancer.  

“We still need to examine the toxicity of the decoy molecules and to test their efficacy on animals before we can move on to humans,” cautioned Karni.  “However, I’m optimistic, given that we’ve already succeeded at creating decoy oligonucleotides that inhibit RNA binding proteins in other kinds of cancers.” 

 To date, a patent describing this technology has been registered in the United States and Europe by Yissum, Hebrew University’s R&D company.