A new method for targeting malignant brain tumors through inducing the cancerous cells to “commit suicide” has been developed by a team of researchers headed by a Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor of biochemistry.
Alexander Levitzki, who is the Wolfson Family Professor of Biochemistry, his research associate, Dr. Alexei Shir, and his colleagues from the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, Germany, have pioneered a technique in which a molecule containing long, double-stranded RNA is attached to epidermal growth factor (EGF) and delivered selectively to cells with an abnormally high number of epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR).
This proliferation of EGFR is typical of certain types of cancer cells, including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most lethal form of brain cancer.
The nucleic acid-EFG molecule acts as a “guided missile,” explained Prof. Levitzki, which, when injected into the blood stream, is avidly gobbled up by the multiple EGF receptors on the cancer cells, without harming normal cells. Once embedded in the tumor cells, it destroys them from within – a true “Trojan horse,” said Prof. Levitzki.
Normal cells, which possess 20 to100 less receptors for EGF, are spared, since the amount of double-stranded RNA gobbled up is insufficient to induce them to die.
The lethal RNA approach has been applied to mice in which human brain tumors were grown. The tests proved 100% effective in eliminating the tumorous growths.
An article on the work of Prof. Levitzki, along with his associate Dr. Shir and Professors Manfred Orgris and Ernst Wagner of Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, was published in a recent article in the journal PLOS Medicine.
Further testing is planned in a clinical setting. In the meantime, a small start-up company, Algen Biopharmaceuticals Ltd., has been established through the Hebrew University’s Yissum Technology Transfer Company to promote commercial development of the new drug. Prof. Levitzki believes that the project has great potential, especially in view of the fact that over-expression of EGF receptors is involved in over 25 % of all types of cancers. The strategy developed to combat GBM can also be applied to other types of receptors found on cancerous cells, he added.
Last year, Prof. Levitzki was named as a winner of the prestigious Wolf Prize in Medicine for his research on cancer development and treatment. His previous work has already led to successful therapy in treating leukemia and some lung cancer patients.
For further information: Jerry Barach, Dept. of Media Relations, the Hebrew University, tel: 02-588-2904, or Orit Sulitzeanu, Hebrew University spokesperson, tel. 052-2608016.
Jerry Barach | Hebrew University
Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.08.2018 | Information Technology
17.08.2018 | Life Sciences