Will This Pill Kill Cancer? Here’s What The Science Says

Recently, preclinical research on a new cancer drug has revealed that it can destroy solid tumors while keeping healthy cells intact. In this article, we will examine this drug and what it can offer patients regarding cancer treatment.

What Is the Pill’s Backstory?

The drug contains a molecule known as AOH1996, which is named after Anna Olivia Healy, who was born in 1996 and was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that begins in nerve cells.

According to the New York Post, Healy died from childhood cancer affecting an estimated 600 kids yearly. Linda Malkas, a leading cancer researcher at City of Hope, met Anna’s family when she was in her final stages. Her father donated $25,000 to Malka’s lab to assist in finding a cure for neuroblastoma. Malkas said that was the moment that changed her life.

How Does The Pill Work?

AOH1996 targets a protein known as PCNA, or proliferating cell nuclear antigen. This antigen, in its mutated form, promotes the existence of cancer cells. Malkas said PCNA is altered in cancer cells, allowing her team to create a drug designed to target only the form of PCNA in cancer cells. She also said the cancer-killing pill is like “a snowstorm that closes a key airline hub, shutting down all flights, but only in carrying cancer cells.”

What Stage Is The Drug Currently At?

The AOH1996 is undergoing a Phase 1 clinical trial at City of Hope, one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the United States. In previous tests, AOH1996 killed specific cancer cells by disrupting the cell’s productive system. Due to the fact the drug killed cancer cells in several lines of cancer, it offers hope that AOH1996 could be used in the future to treat prostate, brain, breast skin, and lung cancers.

Long Gu, associate professor in the Department of Molecular Diagnostics and Experimental Therapeutics at Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, said no one has ever targeted PCNA as a therapeutic because it was seen as undruggable. He also said his team discovered that PCNA is one of the possible causes of increased nucleic acid replication errors in cancer cells. Gu said they will dig deeper to understand the process to develop more targeted cancer medicines since they know the problem area and how to inhibit it.


AOH1996 is a new cancer medication that holds much promise once available for regular use. With its ability to kill targeted cancer cells, it has the potential to greatly improve the lives of cancer patients.