Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Technique to Induce Cancer Cells to ‘Commit Suicide’

20.08.2002


Developed by Hebrew University Scientists



A new technique for tricking cancer cells into “committing suicide” and thus preventing their spread has been developed by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Their work is described in the September issue of Nature Biotechnology, which was published this week in its Internet version.

The technique involves the engineering of a virus that will induce the cancer cell to behave in a manner similar to that of normal cells that are under attack.


In normal cells which have been attacked by a virus, a protein known as PKR is activated as the result of RNA replication within the affected cell. This protein causes the cell to destroy itself, thus preventing the spread of the virus. Normally, PKR stays dormant, doing nothing unless the cell is provoked by an invading virus.

Graduate student Alexei Shir (who has since earned his Ph.D.), together with his advisor, Alexander Levitzki, who is Wolfson Family Professor of Biochemistry at the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University, devised a strategy designed to “trick” cancer cells into activating PKR without activating it in normal cells. Shir and Levitzki developed a technique which involves the engineering of a unique virus, from the same family as the HIV virus, which can be “smuggled” into the cancer cells. This virus, in turn, triggers the PKR activation in the cancerous cells – which otherwise would not occur – and induces them to die, much as ordinary cells would when attacked by a virus.

The virus developed by the Hebrew University researchers is directed specifically against an especially virulent brain tumor cancer and is not harmful to normal cells. This represents a significant improvement over current chemotherapy treatments, which kill cancer cells but also have harmful effects on normal cells. In laboratory tests, the induced virus technique resulted in significant halting of the spread of the brain tumor. For his work, Dr. Shir was awarded one of the Kaye Innovation Awards at the Hebrew University earlier this year.

Prof. Levitzki said that other graduate students of his are now adapting this strategy to lymphoma and leukemia.

A start-up company, Algen Biopharmaceuticals, has been established by the Yissum Research Development Co. of the Hebrew University, together with Prof. Levitzki and investors, to further develop this technology. Prof. Levitzki cautioned that a great deal of laboratory and clinical work remains to be done before this technique will be able to be implemented in treatment of cancer patients.

Heidi Gleit | Hebrew University

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Scientists discover the basics of how pressure-sensing Piezo proteins work
22.08.2019 | Weill Cornell Medicine

nachricht Protein-transport discovery may help define new strategies for treating eye disease
22.08.2019 | Scripps Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Hamburg and Kiel researchers observe spontaneous occurrence of skyrmions in atomically thin cobalt films

Since their experimental discovery, magnetic skyrmions - tiny magnetic knots - have moved into the focus of research. Scientists from Hamburg and Kiel have now been able to show that individual magnetic skyrmions with a diameter of only a few nanometres can be stabilised in magnetic metal films even without an external magnetic field. They report on their discovery in the journal Nature Communications.

The existence of magnetic skyrmions as particle-like objects was predicted 30 years ago by theoretical physicists, but could only be proven experimentally in...

Im Focus: Physicists create world's smallest engine

Theoretical physicists at Trinity College Dublin are among an international collaboration that has built the world's smallest engine - which, as a single calcium ion, is approximately ten billion times smaller than a car engine.

Work performed by Professor John Goold's QuSys group in Trinity's School of Physics describes the science behind this tiny motor.

Im Focus: Quantum computers to become portable

Together with the University of Innsbruck, the ETH Zurich and Interactive Fully Electrical Vehicles SRL, Infineon Austria is researching specific questions on the commercial use of quantum computers. With new innovations in design and manufacturing, the partners from universities and industry want to develop affordable components for quantum computers.

Ion traps have proven to be a very successful technology for the control and manipulation of quantum particles. Today, they form the heart of the first...

Im Focus: Towards an 'orrery' for quantum gauge theory

Experimental progress towards engineering quantized gauge fields coupled to ultracold matter promises a versatile platform to tackle problems ranging from condensed-matter to high-energy physics

The interaction between fields and matter is a recurring theme throughout physics. Classical cases such as the trajectories of one celestial body moving in the...

Im Focus: A miniature stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots

Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.

Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The power of thought – the key to success: CYBATHLON BCI Series 2019

16.08.2019 | Event News

4th Hybrid Materials and Structures 2020 28 - 29 April 2020, Karlsruhe, Germany

14.08.2019 | Event News

What will the digital city of the future look like? City Science Summit on 1st and 2nd October 2019 in Hamburg

12.08.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making small intestine endoscopy faster with a pill-sized high-tech camera

23.08.2019 | Medical Engineering

More reliable operation offshore wind farms

23.08.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tracing the evolution of vision

23.08.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>