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Technology Name
Briefcase
Scientist
1844
An innovative technique and system for forming 1-dimensional counter-propagating electronic states with opposite spins – helical states. Such a system when coupled to a conventional superconductor is expected to form a topological superconductor hosting Majorana zero modes which can be used as...

An innovative technique and system for forming 1-dimensional counter-propagating electronic states with opposite spins – helical states. Such a system when coupled to a conventional superconductor is expected to form a topological superconductor hosting Majorana zero modes which can be used as topologically protected quantum bits.

Quantum computing is a technology that holds the potential to revolutionize computational power and eclipse even today’s most powerful computers. Thus, the technology holds potential for many applications such as cryptography, computational chemistry, machine learning, artificial intelligence and optimization. However, the basic building blocks of a quantum computer, the quantum bits (qubits), are fragile and prawn to errors. There is therefore a major need to develop quantum hardware that allows for complex quantum computations to be performed without errors and many platforms are being explored to achieve this.

In recent years, there has been a great interest in a novel type of qubits called topological qubits, which have a unique protection from the typical fragility of other qubit systems. Several successful experiments (mostly using semiconducting nanowires) have demonstrated initial success in forming these qubits and there are currently great effort to develop these systems. However, challenges in making reproducible and identical qubits with them and the limited fabrication methods of these systems, make scaling up very difficult.

The present technology from the group of Prof. Mordechai Heiblum at the Weizmann Institute of Science offers a novel platform that can be used to forming topological qubits. This platform utilizes 2-dimensional-electron-gas systems where rich, robust and scalable fabrication techniques, which have been developed for several decades, exist. Moreover, the system utilizes the robust and well understood edge states of the quantum Hall effect and allows for an increased flexibility in manipulation of these states in comparison to similar platform based on 1d spin-orbit based semiconductors.

Advantages


·         Robust ­– utilizes edge states of the quantum hall effect.

·         Flexibility in manipulation – 2-dimensional system compared to current 1-dimensional systems.

·         Standard materials and fabrication methods – for instance GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructures.

·         Highly controllable

·         Scalable


Technology's Essence


Topological qubits, which have sparked intensive interest in recent years are based on the engineering of an exotic state of matter called a topological superconductor. To engineer a topological superconductor, superconductivity from a conventional superconductor is induced in a so called 1-dimentional helical system - a system of two counter-propagating, 1-dimnesional states with opposite spins.

The group of Prof. Heiblum has developed a new method and a platform to engineer robust and highly controllable 1-dimnensional helical systems. The method was implemented in GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructures where the existence of well-known MBE growth techniques and well-known fabrication methods allows for a high level of control, high level of flexibility and diversity in devices’ design possibilities, and easy scale up.

The essence of the technology is the use of a carefully designed quantum well structure which hosts two sub-bands of 2D electrons; each tuned to the quantum Hall effect regime. By electrostatic gating of different areas of the structure, counter-propagating integer, as well as fractional, edge modes (belonging to Landau-levels with opposite spins) are formed – rendering the modes helical. The quantum well must be designed so that charge transfer between the two sub-bands allows for the counter propagating edge states to be formed in the interface between two gated regions.

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  • Prof. Mordechai Heiblum
1867
Materials with novel photonic and electric properties are in demand for a variety of uses, ranging from novel dyes to components in electronic devices. A promising area for the development of such materials is organic nanocrystals (ONCs), as they not only have these properties, but also the capacity...

Materials with novel photonic and electric properties are in demand for a variety of uses, ranging from novel dyes to components in electronic devices. A promising area for the development of such materials is organic nanocrystals (ONCs), as they not only have these properties, but also the capacity for self-assembly and disassembly under controlled conditions. However, it would be of great interest to combine ONCs with other materials to enhance properties of robustness and electrical conductivity. A potential hybrid material could be formed with carbon nanotubes (CNTs), however CNTs are difficult to handle mainly due to their poor dispersion properties in different media/matrices.

The group of Prof. Rybtchinski has managed to develop a method for the fabrication of a novel hybrid material combining ONCs and CNTs. By using standard widely available organic dyes, the Rybtchinski group was able to generate a nanocomposite, where the organic dyes form ONCs in tandem with a well dispersed CNT phase. The nanocomposite shows excellent conductivity as well as other desirable properties such as high thermal tolerance.

Applications


The team of Prof. Rybtchinski used readily available, hydrophobic perylene diimide (PDIs) derivatives as the base component for the production of ONCs. The PDIs were mixed and bath sonicated with either single wall CNTs or multi-wall CNTs, in an aqueous media to produce film dispersions with different CNT/ONC ratios. Depending on the PDI derivative the Rybtchinski team was able to achieve homogenous dispersion of the CNTs in the ONCs, with CNT content ranging from ~3-8 wt% all the way to > 60 wt%. Characterization of the nanocomposite showed a high thermal stability, up to 300 °C, along with high electrical conductivity even with low CNT content of 3 wt%.


Advantages


·        Effective way to disperse CNTs in matrices to form homogenous composites

·        Tunable CNT content

·        High thermal stability (~300 °C)

·        Excellent Conductivity (Above 5 Sm?1)

·        Useful for conductive colorant and optoelectronics systems

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  • Prof. Boris Rybtchinski
1865
THE INNOVATION:   A non-chromatographic antibody purification method not relying on Protein A nor any ligand, had been developed. Highly pure (>95%) human, mouse, rabbit or sheep IgG's are obtained in good yields within 20-30 minutes. The technology addresses a projected $440M antibody purification...

THE INNOVATION:

 

A non-chromatographic antibody purification method not relying on Protein A nor any ligand, had been developed. Highly pure (>95%) human, mouse, rabbit or sheep IgG's are obtained in good yields within 20-30 minutes. The technology addresses a projected $440M antibody purification reagents market.

 

MARKET OPPORTUNITY:

 

The past two decades have evidenced a strong focus on monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapeutics. Today, there are already 50 antibody-based drugs on the market; more than 550 are at various stages of development; and the competition among the large biopharmaceutical companies is aggressive. The global market for mAb therapeutics in 2014 reached USD 80.3 billion. The global mAb market is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.1% to nearly USD 128 billion by 2020. The development of these new molecular agents, successfully directed to specific cellular targets, is playing a crucial role in the pharmaceutical industry. This trend shows the strong focus of top biopharmaceutical companies on biologics, including mAb therapeutics (Frost & Sullivan 2015).

 

Accordingly, the rapid growth of the mAb market is driving pharmaceutical firms to find avenues that will reduce production costs. Purification of mAb's, is still a major contributor (50-80%) of manufacturing costs, particularly due to the use of Protein A columns. Whereas Protein A is the most efficient, specific and common ligand used by all biopharmaceutical companies, it is also highly expensive. It is estimated that removal of the Protein A step would cut 40% in the total production costs of mAb's and this is exactly what our technology is aiming at. 

 

THECHNOLOGY:

 

The technology relies on unique detergent scaffolds onto which IgG's bind almost quantitatively, whereas the vast majority of non-IgG proteins are rejected. Bound IgG's are recovered from the detergent scaffolds in great purity (>95%) while leaving residual impurities behind. IgG purification was demonstrated in serum-free media containing BSA\HSA. The fact that, purified IgG's preserve their binding specificity, implies that, the presented method may provide a cost-effective viable alternative to: Protein A chromatography 

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  • Prof. Mordechai Sheves
1871
As the world’s population grows, and climate changes, there is a strong need for breeding hardier crops in a precise fashion. The traditional method of introducing new traits to a plant via traditional breeding methods is a slow and stochastic process, which can require growing a large number of plants...

As the world’s population grows, and climate changes, there is a strong need for breeding hardier crops in a precise fashion. The traditional method of introducing new traits to a plant via traditional breeding methods is a slow and stochastic process, which can require growing a large number of plants to screen for desired progeny. Additionally, it can be difficult to generate a new variety with only the desired traits without any extra undesired traits being introduced in the process. The reason being is the randomness of genetic recombination during reproduction and due to the genetic linkage between desirable and undesirable traits. Therefore, it would be of great value to precisely shuffle genetic elements between chromosomes in both somatic and meiotic plant cells at specific sites.

The group of Prof. Avi Levy have recently devised a method for inducing site specific recombination between homologous chromosomes using CRISPR/Cas9. The technology has numerous applications including allelic replacement in somatic cells. As well as performing reciprocal exchanges of large homologous chromosomal segments at specific locations, enabling recombination events that are rare via traditional breeding. The technology also has great promise in relation to the regulatory environment; as the USDA has stated that it would not oversee multiple crops that were ‘gene edited’ by CRISPR/Cas9[1]. Consequently, this technology has great value as a method for combining specific crop traits and for improving the accuracy of plant breeding in plants.

 

Applications


?  Inducing targeted Homologous Recombination

?  Improving Plant Breeding – through a higher precision of the exchange of chromosomal segments and through the use of smaller populations

?  Applicable with any nuclease system – Simply requires that the system generates a DSB in somatic cells of a hybrid plant. (e.g. TALENs, CRISPR/Cas9, …)


Advantages


The research team led by Prof. Avi Levy at the Weizmann Institute of Science has developed a method to site specifically induce homologous recombination (HR) between chromosomes. The team has applied the innovation in tomato and in Arabidopsis plants. CRISPR/Cas9 was used to perform site specific double strand breaks (DSB) on homologous chromosomal sections. Then using a series of phenotypic and molecular assays, the Levy team could show the DSB repair events were due to HR (either crossover or non-crossover) rather than non-homologous end joining (NHEJ).

 

[1] With a free pass, CRISPR-edited plants reach market in record time. Nature Biotechnology 36, 6–7 (2018). https://www.nature.com/articles/nbt0118-6b

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  • Prof. Avraham A. Levy
1716
An efficient and selective decomposition of plant biomass carbohydrates to their basic components, carbon monoxide and hydrogen, for use as syngas.Terrestrial plants contain about 70% hemicellulose and cellulose, which constitute a significant renewable bio-resource with potential as an alternative to...

An efficient and selective decomposition of plant biomass carbohydrates to their basic components, carbon monoxide and hydrogen, for use as syngas.
Terrestrial plants contain about 70% hemicellulose and cellulose, which constitute a significant renewable bio-resource with potential as an alternative to petroleum feedstock for carbon-based fuels. Traditional conversion of biomass to liquid fuels has been in the form of ethanol and bio-diesel, but this process is inefficient and much of the starting material is unusable and ultimately becomes waste.[1] Additionally, use of ethanol or bio-diesel is not universal to all engines as vehicles require specialized components to run on these fuels.
The presented technology allows for significantly greater efficiency in use of starting material, and the versatile final product of syngas, which can be a fuel itself or used as a fuel precursor in the well-known Fischer-Tropsch process to create hydrocarbons.[2] Alternatively, in a hydrogen economy scenario, this method can also be used to convert carbon monoxide to hydrogen via the water-gas shift reaction. Advantageously, both processes allow for the polyoxometalate (POM) catalyst to be reused without the need for recovery, which enables continuous use in a refinery setting.

Applications


  • Liquid hydrocarbon fuel synthesis from syngas
  • Entry into a new market – hydrogen production from biomass

Advantages


  • Efficient and complete breakdown of starting biomass material
  • Possible to produce hydrogen or syngas as product

Technology's Essence


The technology allows for preparation of syngas by reaction of a carbohydrate with a POM catalyst in the presence of a concentrated acid under anaerobic conditions, to yield carbon monoxide, followed by electrochemical release of hydrogen. This two-step process allows for easy separation and storage of the desired products. An alternative application of the same POM catalyst relates to a method for preparing formic acid in a similar method, but in a solvent consisting of a mixture of alcohol and water.
This reaction is based on the unexpected finding that POM catalysts, such as H5PV2Mo10O40, catalyze plant biomass derived polysaccharides of general form (CnH2nOn)m, with high selectivity and efficiency under mild conditions. Formation of CO occurs through an intermediate formation of formic acid and formaldehyde, and transformation of these transition compounds in concentrated acid results in the desired CO product. During this process, hydrogen atoms are stored on the POM catalysts as protons and electrons. Hydrogen gas is subsequently electrochemically released from the POM catalyst, which returns the catalyst to its original oxidized state and allows for continued reuse.

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  • Prof. Ronny Neumann
1770
Obesity is reaching epidemic proportions throughout the western world and is also now becoming a problem in a number of countries in the developing world. This is primarily due to the over-consumption of high-calorie foods compounded with the lethargic lifestyles that are becoming common place. The...

Obesity is reaching epidemic proportions throughout the western world and is also now becoming a problem in a number of countries in the developing world. This is primarily due to the over-consumption of high-calorie foods compounded with the lethargic lifestyles that are becoming common place.

The issue of obesity is that it is linked to the development of many other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Consquently numerous countries healthcare systems are being put under enormous strain from the increase and severity of obesity related diseases. Additionally the financial strain is being compounded by the requirement for special equipment in hospitals that are larger and reinforced to handle the more extreme cases that are becoming common. Therefore there is a clear need for a treatment that can reduce obesity in a cost-effective manner and that is simple for individuals to follow.

The present technology from the laboratory of Prof. Yosef Shaul offers a novel target in reducing obesity by inhibiting c-Abl kinase, which has the added benefit of being a well-known and clinically tested drug target. Subsequently the technology offers a new method in reducing obesity using a well understood molecular target that has already been tested for other diseases. 

Applications


?  Generating therapeutics towards reducing obesity.


Advantages


·         Specific – the technology targets c-Abl kinase to reduce obesity.

·         Well Studied – c-Abl has been studied and targeted for other indications.

·         Clinically tested – small molecule c-Abl inhibitors such as Imantinib (Gleevec) have been clinically approved for treating cancer, possibly simplifying future clinical trials.

·         Numerous therapeutic options – A variety of small molecule inihibitors already exist along with other options such as RNAi to target c-Abl.


Technology's Essence


The invention is the inhibition of the Abelson murine leukemia viral oncogene homolog 1 (c-Abl) for the purpose of reducing obesity. The inhibition of the c-Abl kinase activity has the effect of lowering the amount of peroxisome proliferator-activator receptor gamma 2 (PPAR?2), which is known as a master regulator in the development of adipocytes (fat accumulating cells). The mechanism works by reducing the stability of the PPAR?2 and leading to its to depletion. Subsequently it has been shown that inhibiting c-Abl leads to reduced fat accumulation in cells and lowering of body mass in multiple mouse models.  

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  • Prof. Yosef Shaul
1723
Available chemically based pesticides cause a large number of negative health and environmental effects including the outcome of residual contamination of land, water, and crops. Subsequently there is a need for improved methods of crop protection, preferably the use of environmental friendly...

Available chemically based pesticides cause a large number of negative health and environmental effects including the outcome of residual contamination of land, water, and crops. Subsequently there is a need for improved methods of crop protection, preferably the use of environmental friendly alternatives of biologically based pesticides, which will provide a broad-spectrum protection to different crops and blocks an array of pathogens.

The described invention uses natural substances as a biocontrol, to promote biofilm formation by B. subtilis. B. subtilis acts as a protective layer, outcompeting and stopping pathogenic bacterial and fungal colonization in plants roots. Furthermore, B. subtilis, which is commonly found in the top-layer of soils and in the human gut, is already in use in the agricultural industry.

Applications


·         Dynamically protecting crops against bacterial and fungal.

·         Feasible as a mechanism to inhibit biofilm formation of certain pathogens.

·         Possibly assisting in plant growth by increasing nutrient and water absorption, and the release of growth inducing hormones.


Advantages


  •  Broad spectrum and straightforward application

  •  Non-toxic natural materials

  •  Reduction in regulatory challenges

  •  Non GMO application

  •  Limited capacity of pathogens to develop immunity


Technology's Essence


Use of natural substances to promote the formation of B. subtilis biofilms for the protection of plant roots. The biofilms act as a protective barrier, inhibiting the growth of different pathogens, by ensuring that B. subtilis outcompetes other bacterial and fungal populations.

The technology is straightforward, simplifies regulatory issues by using natural compounds, does not require genetic modification, and uses B. subtilis, which is ubiquitously found. Consequently, this technology acts as a safe-to-use pesticide by using natural compounds to control bacterial biofilm formation.

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  • Dr. Ilana Kolodkin-Gal
1846
CRISPR/Cas9 represents a revolutionary jump in genome editing technology, both in terms of flexibility and accuracy. However, an acute challenge for the use of CRISPR/Cas9 in editing plant genomes is that the system has a low efficiency in producing the desired modifications. Therefore, there is a...

CRISPR/Cas9 represents a revolutionary jump in genome editing technology, both in terms of flexibility and accuracy. However, an acute challenge for the use of CRISPR/Cas9 in editing plant genomes is that the system has a low efficiency in producing the desired modifications. Therefore, there is a clear need for a method to improve the efficiency of CRISPR/Cas9 activity in plants.

The team of Prof. Asaph Aharoni have discovered a unique genetic element that can be used in plants to improve the efficiency of CRISPR/Cas9 and similar systems in editing said genomes. The technology is a widely applicable method and simple to apply.

Applications


  •  High efficiency performance for plant genome editing

  •  Compatible with current systems e.g. CRISPR/Cas9 or other genome editing systems


Technology's Essence


The standard method for expressing CRISPR/Cas9 in planta is the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) promoter. The inherent issue with the CaMV promoter is that plants often silence this promoter limiting the expression of CRISPR/Cas9, causing a low efficiency in genome editing. The Aharoni team has discovered genetic elements that enhance expression of a gene in planta without the subsequent silencing by the plants own machinery. The system was tested by targeting color related genes and showed a high efficiency in the number of first generation plants that were CRISPR edited. The technology improves the efficiency and reduces the amount of time and effort required to determine whether a CRISPR modification has occurred. This innovation also has further applications as any given gene can be used for a strong and stable expression in planta.

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  • Prof. Asaph Aharoni
1744
Highlights Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria are common pathogens that are difficult to treat and are therefore critical to diagnose early when involved in infections. The commonly used method for confirming a P. aeruginosa infection is cultural inoculation, which takes 2-3 days to yield results.   2-...

Highlights

  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria are common pathogens that are difficult to treat and are therefore critical to diagnose early when involved in infections.

  • The commonly used method for confirming a P. aeruginosa infection is cultural inoculation, which takes 2-3 days to yield results. 

  •  2-Aminoacetophenone (2-AA) is a volatile substance produced by P. aeruginosa bacteria in high concentrations.  Detection of 2-AA using mass spectrometry has proven successful, but the expensive equipment and highly trained personnel involved make this method impractical in the clinic.

Our Innovation

  • We determined through experiments and in silico docking analysis that there is a binding site between 2-AA and a native LuxR receptor from Vibrio fischeri.  Based on this knowledge, we set out to create a biosensor using E. coli harbouring a plasmid encoding LuxR and a reporter luciferase for bioluminescence. 

  • Through mutagenesis we found a LuxR variant with three amino acids mutated (termed m22).  It shows improved binding with 2-AA, yielding a higher specificity (preventing false positives) and a lower detection limit.

  • We have designed a prototype device for detecting P. aeruginosa in pus samples using this novel biosensor.  It is made of three primary components: a simple plastic tube containing the sample, a cap containing the E. coli-based biosensor, and a bioluminescence detector above the cap.  These components are enclosed in a light-sealed aluminium capsule.

  • Our device allows inexpensive detection of P. aeruginosa infection in a matter of hours.

  • Initial tests with pus from otitis externa (outer ear infections) yielded correct diagnosis in 25/26 cases (7 positive, 17 negative).  Only one false negative was reported, which can likely be attributed either to contamination (in the culture used for comparison) or to a rare P. aeruginosa variant that produces less 2-AA. 

  • Other infections of head and neck origin were correctly detected in 16/20 cases (4 positive, 12 negative) with 4 false negatives.  Due to this poorer performance we plan to focus primarily on otitis externa in the short term.

Applications


Key Features

P. aeruginosa, Rapid Diagnostics, Biosensors, Ear Infection, Hospital-Acquired Infection

Development Milestones

  • Seeking funding for research to improve efficiency and expand to other applications

  • Seeking industrial collaboration to advance to clinical trials


Technology's Essence


The Opportunity

  • Between 1 million and 3 million cases of otitis externa in the US annually, 20%-60% of which are caused by P. aeruginosa

  • At least 90% of malignant otitis externa cases, common in diabetic and immunocompromised individuals, are caused by P. aeruginosa

  • Potential applications in cystic fibrosis, otitis media, infected burns, infected catheters, diabetes complications and more

Researcher Information

Yael Helman, PI, HU

Noam Sobel, Full Professor and Head of Neurobiology Department, WIS

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  • Prof. Noam Sobel
1762
Hair loss (alopecia) is mostly associated with aging, although it can affect people at various ages. Genetics, drugs, chemotherapy, stress, and medical conditions are just a few of the factors that are associated with alopecia. Non-surgical medical treatments for alopecia, such as oral and topical...

Hair loss (alopecia) is mostly associated with aging, although it can affect people at various ages. Genetics, drugs, chemotherapy, stress, and medical conditions are just a few of the factors that are associated with alopecia. Non-surgical medical treatments for alopecia, such as oral and topical drugs, may have severe side effects and are not always effective in restoring lost hair. Therefore there is a need for medications that can encourage hair growth as well as prevent further balding.

The team of Dr. Valery Krizhanovsky discovered that by eliminating senescent cells in the epidermis they can revive hair follicle stem cells that induce hair growth. The team achieved this via the use of small molecule inhibitors of Bcl-2 family proteins and showed that such treatment is beneficial to the viability of senescent cells in the epidermis, subsequently able to restore hair growth potential.

Advantages


?  Restores hair growth potential – induces repopulation of stem cells in follicles, possibly returning hair growth and preventing hair loss.

?  Wide variety – can be used to treat alopecia, whether due to genetic, environmental or behavioral factors, or following chemotherapy.

?  Non-androgenic – can be used by both men and women.


Technology's Essence


The group of Dr. Krizhanovsky showed that Bcl-W and Bcl-XL are elevated in senescent cells and provide the cells with resistance to apoptosis. Using a mouse model whereby epidermal senescent cells were induced, led to fur loss in the mice. The Krizhanovsky team then checked inhibition of Bcl-2 family proteins by relevant small molecule inhibitors, which induced proliferation of stem cells in the hair follicles restoring the capacity of hair growth. Furthermore the principle concept of the Krizhanovsky groups work has been corroborated independently. By using a fast-aging mouse model that has accelerated hair loss, the group of Dr. de Keizer demonstrated in vivo that inducing senescent cell apoptosis targeting a separate pathway, led to the restoration of fur growth[1]



[1] Baar et al., 2017, Cell 169, 132–147

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  • Prof. Valery Krizhanovsky
1810
Culturing and expanding T cells ex-vivo, while retaining their functionality, is an essential factor for the development of cutting-edge immunotherapies. A major problem frequently faced by physicians is the low number of T cells available for adoptive immunotherapy, and the difficulty to retain their...

Culturing and expanding T cells ex-vivo, while retaining their functionality, is an essential factor for the development of cutting-edge immunotherapies. A major problem frequently faced by physicians is the low number of T cells available for adoptive immunotherapy, and the difficulty to retain their functionality following extended incubation ex vivo. Specifically, cultivation of T-cells commonly leads to short term cell proliferation, which is followed by gradual loss of functionality, growth arrest, and increased cell death.  Consequently, there is a strong need for the development of novel technologies that could increase T-cell proliferation, while maintaining, or even enhancing their functionality.

The groups of Prof. Benjamin Geiger and Prof. Nir Friedman have identified unique conditions for inducing T cell proliferation ex vivo. The technology is based on supplementing factors to the media and affixing factors to the surface of the cell culture device. The conditions developed by the joint Geiger-Friedman team greatly enhanced the expansion of CD4+, CD8+, and additional types of T cells. Moreover, functional testing of specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes demonstrated a remarkably-enhanced capacity of killing relevant cancer cells, both ex vivo and in vivo.

Applications


·         Expanding large quantities of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells ex-vivo, for example tumor infiltrating T cells (TILs) from biopsies.

·         Producing highly functional antigen-specific CD8+ T cells for tumor suppression.

·         Capacity to stimulate functional CAR-Ts and TILs.


Advantages


·        Simple – coating vessels with the particular T cell stimulatory factors that are commercially available.

·        Specific – Co-culturing with antigen loaded dendritic cells allows antigen-specific T cell expansion (e.g. cancer neo-antigen T cells). 

·        Compatible – stimulating CAR-T cells and possibly TILs.


Technology's Essence


The Geiger-Friedman team has discovered a novel set of conditions that induce the growth of T cells, using a specific combination of T cell stimulators attached firmly to the culture device along with soluble stimulatory cytokines. The team was able to effectively produce large numbers of T cells which retain full or even enhanced functionality, e.g. killing of specific cancer cells in culture and in vivo. 

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  • Prof. Benjamin Geiger
1743
Disruption to the Extra-Cellular Matrix (ECM) is associated with many pathological conditions, such as various cancer types and tissue fibrosis, and also correlates with high tumor malignancy. Therefore, controlling ECM composition and morphology is considered a potential treatment for cancer and other...

Disruption to the Extra-Cellular Matrix (ECM) is associated with many pathological conditions, such as various cancer types and tissue fibrosis, and also correlates with high tumor malignancy. Therefore, controlling ECM composition and morphology is considered a potential treatment for cancer and other ECM-associated diseases, such as liver fibrosis.

Presently, there is no therapeutic agent which can manipulate ECM properties for such types of diseases, and therefore a pressing need exists for ECM-modulating agents for the treatment of collagen-associated pathologies.

The team led by Prof. Irit Sagi has developed a monoclonal antibody (mAb) which can be targeted against the enzyme lysyl-oxidase like 2 (LOXL-2). An enzyme known to be expressed in numerous cancer types, and has been shown to be associated with enhanced cancer progression and metastasis. Subsequently LOXL-2 inhibition is associated with reduced metastasis and improved clinical outcome, therefore this new anti-LOXL-2 mAb could provide a useful tool to treat cancer development, and possibly other ECM-related pathologies.

Applications


·         Inhibiting growth and development of various cancers, including triple negative breast cancer.

·         Possible treatment for other ECM-related pathologies, such as fibrosis.


Advantages


  •  Large scope – Can be used for a variety of malignancies and other collagen-associated diseases.
  • Flexible – Can be used as a complementary treatment for conventional therapeutic methods

Technology's Essence


The research group led by Prof. Irit Sagi from the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) has investigated tumor micro-environments, and developed an antibody against LOXL-2 one of the main inducers of collagen assembly. This anti-LOXL-2 antibody has enabled the Sagi group to inhibit the growth and proliferation of cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo.

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  • Prof. Irit Sagi
1776
A novel method for treating ovarian cancer by intercepting the EGFR ligand amphiregulin, when elevated expression levels are found in a patient. Ovarian cancer represents a relatively common type of cancer that affects women. However, the primary therapeutic option for ovarian cancer has remained the...

A novel method for treating ovarian cancer by intercepting the EGFR ligand amphiregulin, when elevated expression levels are found in a patient.

Ovarian cancer represents a relatively common type of cancer that affects women. However, the primary therapeutic option for ovarian cancer has remained the same since the 1970’s, involving systemic chemotherapy treatment, and surgery. The problem of limited treatment options is further exacerbated due to the high proportion of patients who relapse following chemotherapy.

The group of Prof. Yosef Yarden at the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) has discovered that amphiregulin (AREG) levels are elevated in the body fluids of a high percentage of ovarian cancer patient samples they tested. Prof. Yarden’s group has found that by intercepting AREG in combination with chemotherapy, they were able to inhibit the growth of ovarian tumors.

Applications


·         Inhibiting growth of ovarian cancer.

·         Possible treatment for other types of cancer.

·         Using AREG as a possible theranostic for ovarian cancer.


Advantages


·         Innovative Target – Intercepting the EGF-ligand AREG.

·         Flexible – Anti-AREG mAbs could be used alone or in combination with current chemotherapy treatments for different malignancies.


Technology's Essence


Prof. Yosef Yarden and his group have found that the EGFR ligand, Amphiregulin (AREG) was elevated in the bodily fluids of 80% of cancer patient samples tested. These results were further supported by in vitro work with varying cancer cell lines, again showing elevated AREG concentrations in their media. The Yarden group then generated an anti-AREG antibody, and performed experiments in vivo using mouse models xenografted with ovarian cancer cells. The results show that co-administering the anti-AREG antibody re-sensitized the tumors to standard chemotherapy treatments. This emphasizes the value of AREG not only as an anti-cancer target but also as a possible diagnostic marker.  

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  • Prof. Yosef Yarden
1774
A novel method for treating tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)-resistant cancer, by using a combination of three different antibodies. Lung cancer is known as one of the most fatal forms of cancer. Notably, standard treatments for other cancer types (e.g. TKIs and mAbs), have shown only a limited effect...

A novel method for treating tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)-resistant cancer, by using a combination of three different antibodies.

Lung cancer is known as one of the most fatal forms of cancer. Notably, standard treatments for other cancer types (e.g. TKIs and mAbs), have shown only a limited effect on this specific malignancy. The reason is that lung cancer cells regularly acquire resistance through multiple compensatory mechanisms, including secondary (new) mutations in receptors which block the effects of TKIs; up-regulation of specific genes; or rewiring of signaling networks.

The current technology works around these compensatory mechanisms by using a mixture of antibodies that function in a synergistic manner, to effectively and specifically target lung cancer cells, without affecting healthy cells.

Applications


·         Treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

·         A method for augmenting currently available TKIs.


Advantages


·         Specificity – treatment was able to target EGFR-mutated NSCLC cancer cells, and showed no effect on healthy cells.

·         Effective – able to strongly inhibit NSCLC cancer cell lines and inhibit xenografted NSCLC cells in a mouse model.

·         Novel Approach – utilizing data derived from both clinical and laboratory research to devise a method for counteracting compensatory mechanisms of cancer cells.


Technology's Essence


Prof. Yosef Yarden and his group have discovered that by simultaneously inhibiting multiple receptors, namely HER2 and HER3 along with EGFR, they could effectively circumvent the compensatory mechanisms and inhibit NSCLC cell growth. This was determined using a combination of clinical, in vitro, and in vivo data. In addition, in vivo experimental work included xenograted mouse models where only the triple combination of antibodies effectively reduced tumor volume relative to standard mAb treatments.

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  • Prof. Yosef Yarden
1790
A novel method of preventing secondary infections, by inhibition of membrane type I matrix-metalloproteinase-1 (MT1-MMP), which reduces degradation of the extra-cellular matrix. Pathogens that infect the respiratory system are the cause of some of the most dangerous infections, especially for...

A novel method of preventing secondary infections, by inhibition of membrane type I matrix-metalloproteinase-1 (MT1-MMP), which reduces degradation of the extra-cellular matrix.

Pathogens that infect the respiratory system are the cause of some of the most dangerous infections, especially for vulnerable populations such as children and seniors. This is due to the host immune response which can damage the lung tissue, serving as a prime target for secondary infections. Consequently, there is a need for a method that provides better control over inflammatory response and reduces tissue damage caused by the host immune response to an infection.

Prof. Irit Sagi’s research team has discovered that by specifically inhibiting MT1-MMP they can limit tissue damage in the lungs of mice, help prevent secondary infections, and subsequently improve overall survival rates.  

Applications


·         Limiting tissue damage for the prevention and treatment of secondary infections.


Advantages


·        Novel mechanism – targeting MT1-MMP to limit inflammation due to an immune response, rather than targeting the pathogen directly.

·        Usage of an antibody for prophylaxis or treatment

·        Synergism – possibly combined with an anti-pathogen agent to assist in treatment. 

·        Better outcomes – reduction of tissue damage and inhibition of secondary infections improves overall survival rates.


Technology's Essence


The research team of Prof. Irit Sagi has shown a novel mechanism of treating and preventing secondary infections by inhibition of MT1-MMP using an anti-MT1-MMP antibody. The team used mice as an infection model. They performed in vitro experiments on extracted mice lungs to characterize MT1-MMP’s role in the infection pathology. They also calculated survival rates following both primary and secondary infections of mice, with and without inhibition of MT1-MMP. Which showed that the inclusion of the anti-MT1-MMP antibody improved overall survival rates in the infected mice.

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  • Prof. Irit Sagi

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