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Article: Promising drug for cancer treatment begins clinical trials


Researchers at City of Hope are testing a new type of cancer treatment drug. When tested in animals and cells taken from human cancers, this new drug prevented the growth of many types of cancer. Initial clinical trials in people have just started. (Posted 9/7/23)

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Promising drug for cancer treatment begins clinical trials
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Most relevant for: People with solid tumors..
It may also be relevant for:

  • people with metastatic or advanced cancer

Relevance: Medium-Low

Quality of Writing: Medium

Research Timeline: Animal Studies

Relevance Rating Details

What is this article about?

This article describes the first studies in animals and human cells of a new drug for cancer treatment.

Why are we reviewing this article?

This review covers a press release about early research at City of Hope on a new type of cancer treatment drug called AOH1996. The research involved early lab studies that were done before human clinical trials. More years of research will be needed to learn whether this approach will work in people. However, several news outlets covered the story, leading people to believe the drug would be available soon. 

What is AOH1996 and how does it work?

AOH1996 targets PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen), a protein that is present in all dividing cells. Because AOH1996 blocks PCNA, this type of drug is called a  PCNA inhibitor. Since all dividing cells, including cancer cells, have this protein, this drug may be able to treat many types of cancer.

These early tests suggest that AOH1996 may target cancer cells while sparing normal cells. New approaches like this might expand the options for cancer treatment and potentially reduce how many cancers return after treatment.

Study findings

  • To date, all of the studies on AOH1996 have been in the lab in animals or isolated cells.
    • AOH1996 prevents cells taken from human cancers from growing. It was effective on cells from breast, , brain, ovarian, cervical, skin and lung cancers. In lab tests, healthy cells were unharmed.
    • In the lab, this drug works either by itself or when combined with standard chemotherapy drugs.
    • When used alone, AOH1996 can prevent tumors of the nervous system, breast or lung from growing in mice.
  • AOH1996 has not yet been tested in people; lab research has been done only in animals and isolated cells. More research is needed to learn how this drug works and whether it is safe and useful in humans.
    • The first small clinical trial in humans has started. No information is available yet on the safety or usefulness of this drug.

What does this mean for me?

This drug is only available through a clinical trial to test if it is safe and useful in humans. It will likely be a few years before we know whether this treatment will work in people. Currently, the study is only enrolling people with advanced cancers who have no further treatment options available. The study is open at City of Hope near Los Angeles, California and may open at additional sites in the future. Contact for more information about participating in the study.


Leffman J and Fidler K. Cancer-killing pill that annihilates tumours hailed as 'holy grail' breakthrough. METRO via; 2023; Published online Aug 4, 2023.

Gu et al., Small molecule targeting of transcription-replication conflict for selective chemotherapy. Cell Chemical Biology; 2023; 30:1–13. Published online August 1, 2023. AOH1996 for the Treatment of Refractory

Disclosure: FORCE receives funding from industry sponsors, including companies that manufacture cancer drugs, tests and devices. All XRAYS articles are written independently of any sponsor and are reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board prior to publication to assure scientific integrity.

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posted 9/7/23

Questions To Ask Your Doctor
Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • Do I qualify for this clinical study?
  • What other clinical trials might be appropriate for me?

Open clinical trials
Open clinical trials

The following studies are looking at treatment for people with advanced


Updated: 02/01/2024

Who covered this study?

Innovation Origins

The development of cancer drug AOH1996: Two decades in the making This article rates 3.5 out of 5 stars

Technology Networks Drug Discovery

Cancer Drug Selectively Kills Tumor Cells in Preclinical Study This article rates 2.5 out of 5 stars

Fierce Biotech

City of Hope's cancer-killing pill works like a snowstorm shutting down an airport This article rates 2.0 out of 5 stars

Jerusalem Post

US researchers develop revolutionary 'cancer-killing' pill This article rates 1.5 out of 5 stars

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