The new cancer drug targets PCNA, which in its mutated form helps cancerous tumours thrive.
Researchers in the US have developed a drug that is offering new hope to cancer patients. Names AOH1996, it "appears to annihilate all solid tumours", the experts said in a preclinical research. With the unique name, the researchers have paid tribute to Anna Olivia Healey, a nine-year-old girl who died in 2005 from neuroblastoma, a children's cancer that affects only 600 children in America each year. She was born in 1996 in Indiana. Scientists said Phase 1 clinical trial of the drug is being carried out at City of Hope Hospital in California.
"I knew I wanted to do something special for that little girl," Linda Malkas, a professor in the hospital's Department of Molecular Diagnostics and Experimental Therapeutics, said about naming the drug.
Dr Malkas met the family of the little girl before she died.
"I met Anna's father when she was at her end stages... he asked if I could do something about neuroblastoma and he wrote my lab a check for $25,000. That was the moment that changed my life - my fork in the road," she was quoted as saying by New York Post.
According to the American Cancer Society, neuroblastoma starts in very early forms of nerve cells, and most often found in an embryo or a foetus.
The research said that AOH1996 was created after two decades of research. It targets PCNA, which in its mutated form helps cancerous tumours thrive.
"PCNA is uniquely altered in cancer cells, and this fact allowed us to design a drug that targeted only the form of PCNA in cancer cells while leaving healthy, normal cells untouched," said Dr Malkas.
Since AOH1996 killed cancer cells in several cancer cell lines, it offers hope that the drug can someday be used to treat breast, prostate, brain, ovarian, cervical, skin and lung cancers.