The student, Danny Goldstein, received the Barenholz Prize for Creativity and Originality in Applied Research for his work. The award, named for its donor, Yehezkel Barenholz, the Dr. Daniel G. Miller Professor of Cancer Research at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, was presented recently during the 70th meeting of the Hebrew University’s Board of Governors.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death for men in the U.S. Present treatments for metastatic prostate cancer (cancer cells that spread to other parts of the body) include hormonal therapy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which frequently have serious side effects.
The well known drug, paclitaxel, exhibits a wide spectrum of anti-tumor activity. However, its therapeutic application in cancer therapy is limited, in part, due to its low water solubility, making it difficult to effectively deliver the drug to the points needed. It is also known to induce hypersensitivity reactions. Therefore, novel methods are needed that would allow for delivery of effective concentrations of paclitaxel over extended time intervals while minimizing toxicity.
Targeting drugs to disseminated prostate metastases is one of the most challenging goals in prostate cancer therapy. Drug carriers -- nanoemulsions, liposomes (fatty droplets) and nanoparticles -- have shown great potential as delivery systems for an increasing number of active molecules. Although capable of enhanced accumulation in the target tissue, these carriers cannot achieve their missions unless specific binding agents are attached to them which will ensure that they succeed in attaching to the targeted tissues.
It has been shown that the HER2 receptor is over-expressed in prostate cancer cells. It was also known that trastuzumab (an antibody) binds specifically to HER2. But there had been no clinical data indicating that this antibody would provide any relief for prostate cancer patients.
Goldstein, a student of Prof. Simon Benita, was able to show that attaching trastuzumab molecules to the surface of oil droplets in nanoemulsions made possible the targeting of such droplets to cells over-expressing the HER2 receptor. He coupled trastuzumab with emulsions containing the toxic agent paclitaxel-palmitate and evaluated the efficiency of these emulsions in laboratory tests on cancerous prostate cells and on mice with induced prostate cancer. He found that this emulsion compound did not cause a hypersensitive reaction upon injection and even yielded better results than known drug treatments while inhibiting tumor growth substantially.
Goldstein cautions that this inhibiting activity of tumor metastases growth was not absolute and that while the results are encouraging, there is a need for further research to combat metastatic prostate cancer. Prof. Benita added that he hopes clinical trials using the new method can begin in about two years.
Jerry Barach | alfa
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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