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Technology Name
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Scientist
1033
A novel diagnostic test to identify individuals with increased risk of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the number one killer among cancers, with 160,000 deaths/year in the USA and 1.6 million/year worldwide. Early detection of lung cancer increases 5-year survival rate from 4% to 54%. Moreover, the...

A novel diagnostic test to identify individuals with increased risk of lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the number one killer among cancers, with 160,000 deaths/year in the USA and 1.6 million/year worldwide. Early detection of lung cancer increases 5-year survival rate from 4% to 54%. Moreover, the National Lung Cancer Trial (NLST) showed that early detection of lung cancer by low-dose CT reduces mortality by at least 20%. Despite recommendations for low-dose CT screening for heavy smokers fulfilling the NLST criteria, compliance is low. In addition, 80 million smokers and ex-smokers in the US who do not fulfil NLST risk criteria have no recommended solution.

The MyRepair test fulfils this unmet medical need by providing a quantitative prediction of lung cancer risk using a simple blood test. The test is based on a personalized measurement of the patient’s DNA repair capacity, a mechanism which is highly connected to the onset of cancer. Therefore, the MyRepair technology can potentially increase early detection of lung cancer and thus save lives.

 

Applications


A novel diagnostic test to identify individuals with increased risk of lung cancer


Advantages


·         Simplicity – MyRepair is based on a simple, cost-effective blood test.

·         Accessibility – Compared to low-dose CT which requires specific equipment, the MyRepair test can be easily integrated in general diagnostic labs and therefore may be more accessible to a larger portion of the population.

·         Additional applications – Since the test is based on measuring personalized DNA repair mechanism, it can be adopted in the future for the diagnosis of additional cancer types and DNA repair related diseases.


Technology's Essence


Based on the strong and well documented connection between impaired capacity for DNA repair and onset of cancer, the Livneh lab invented the MyRepair Test, a method for predicting lung cancer risk, based on measuring activity of 3 DNA repair enzymes.

Combining enzyme activities with experimental risk estimates generated MyRepair Score, which measures personalized DNA repair capacity of tested subjects.

An epidemiological/clinical study performed in Israel, further validated in an independent UK study, demonstrated that lung cancer patients have lower MyRepair Score than healthy people. In addition, subjects who test MyRepair-positive have an 85-fold higher risk to develop lung cancer compared to the general population.

Low MyRepair Score is a risk factor independent of smoking, and of comparable magnitude, indicating that it can be a prognostic tool for smokers, ex-smokers, and non-smokers.

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  • Prof. Zvi Livneh
1245

Applications


The novel DNA Aptamer is a promising candidate for therapeutic as well as diagnostic uses: Therapeutic: A novel therapy for Influenza Diagnostics: Detection of Influenza infection in vertebrates such as avian, swine and human

Technology's Essence


Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science describe a novel oligonucleotide, also known as an Aptamer, which has been designed to complement the receptor-binding region of the influenza haemagglutinin molecule. It was constructed by screening a DNA library and processing by the SELEX procedure. This DNA Aptamer comprises of a polynucleotide sequence that can bind to a polypeptide within the binding region of the influenza virus to the host cell. The proposed mode of action of this Aptamer is by blocking the binding of influenza virus to target cell receptors and consequently preventing the virus invasion into the host cells. Aptamer is capable of inhibiting the haemagglutinin capacity of the virus and the viral infectivity in vitro. Furthermore, it was shown in an animal model to inhibit viral infection by different influenza strains, as manifested by up to 99% reduction of virus burden in the lungs of treated mice.

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  • Prof. Ruth Arnon
1270
Monoclonal antibodies to IgE Description: Rat monoclonal anti-IgE antibodies that was generated by fusion of plasmacytoma (84.1C) or myeloma (EM953) cells with splenocytes of rat immunized with purified murine IgE mAb. The antibodies react with various IgE mAb of different specificities and not with...

Monoclonal antibodies to IgE

Description: Rat monoclonal anti-IgE antibodies that was generated by fusion of plasmacytoma (84.1C) or myeloma (EM953) cells with splenocytes of rat immunized with purified murine IgE mAb. The antibodies react with various IgE mAb of different specificities and not with immunoglobulins of other classes, and recognize an epitope on the murine Fc epsilon region.

Were shown to block IgE-Fc?R interactions and inhibit passive cutaneous anaphylaxis. 

Clone 84.1c recognizes a site on IgE, which is identical or very close to the Fc?R binding site. May be used for detection and manipulation of the IgE response in mice.

Reference:  Schwarzbaum S, Nissim A, Alkalay I, Ghozi MC, Schindler DG, Bergman Y, Eshhar Z. 1989. Mapping of murine IgE epitopes involved in IgE-Fc epsilon receptor interactions. Eur J Immunol 19(6):1015-23.

 

M182, M185, M186

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  • Prof. Zelig Eshhar
1369
A simple, single-step biochip platform for synthesis of biomolecules. Biochip technology is used today in measuring passive probe-target interactions i.e. measurement of the abundance of specific biomolecules). This technology can now be extended to include complex and cascaded activities on the chip...

A simple, single-step biochip platform for synthesis of biomolecules.

Biochip technology is used today in measuring passive probe-target interactions i.e. measurement of the abundance of specific biomolecules). This technology can now be extended to include complex and cascaded activities on the chip. The present immobilization approaches (based on UV photography) have been essentially limited to short single stranded DNA probes and have not been developed for entire genes or other biochemical functions. Furthermore, most biochips are assembled in a multi-step process that requires expertise in surface chemistry in order to obtain reproducibility and robustness. As a result, light-directed immobilization of molecules on biochips is not widespread and is not easily accessible for research and technology development. The present invention enables, in a simple manner, to immobilize different biomolecules anywhere on the chip to submicron resolution through selective exposure of the monolayer to UV light.

 

Applications


  • Light-directed immobilization of a variety of different biomolecules (e.g. DNA, antibodies, enzymes and peptides)
  • On-chip protein biosynthesis from immobilized genes
  • Design and layout of on-chip traps for proteins from crude cell extract
  • Lab-on-a-chip that provides a general use biochip technology

Advantages


  • Enabling the use of long DNA molecules (whole genes)
  • Robust and simple performance without the need for proficiency in materials science and surface chemistry
  • On-chip protein synthesis with high efficiency, minimal non-specific activity, and a wide dynamic range

 


Technology's Essence


This lab-on-a-chip technology (i.e. a technology that enables to perform laboratory operations on a small scale) is based on a newly synthesized molecule termed daisy that combines three parts all-in-one: a tail and head connected by a backbone. Selective exposure of daisy monolayer to UV light through a mask (photolithography) reveals the surface for chemical binding of a variety of biomolecules. Using this technology it is possible to immobilize different biomolecules anywhere on the chip to submicron resolution. By immobilizing whole genes, thus enabling cell-free biosynthesis of proteins, daisy technology takes the lab-on-a-chip concept to the next level. Daisy biochip technology holds a promise in proteomics, diagnostics and therapeutics.

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  • Prof. Roy Bar-Ziv
1397
A novel antibody which can be used, for the first time, to recognize ubiquitinated histone 2B. This technology is novel in its ability to recognize proteins and their destinations, and may serve in diagnostics and immunoprecipitation processes.

A novel antibody which can be used, for the first time, to recognize ubiquitinated histone 2B. This technology is novel in its ability to recognize proteins and their destinations, and may serve in diagnostics and immunoprecipitation processes.

Applications


Primary applications in research. Use as a detection tool in western blotting, immunoprecipitation and chromatin immunoprecipitation. Might be used for monitoring processes associated with modulations of ubiquitinated-H2B levels.

Technology's Essence


The invention involves the generation of antibodies specific to ubiquitinated-H2B which selectively recognize H2B when it is ubiquitinated but not H2B in its unmodified state, or ubiquitin unconjugated to H2B.

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  • Prof. Moshe Oren
1441
New protein as a target to treat B cell-related cancer.Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a malignant disease characterized by the accumulation of B lymphocytes in the blood, lymphoid organs, and bone marrow, is the second most common type of leukemia in adults, accounting for about 7,000 new cases of...

New protein as a target to treat B cell-related cancer.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a malignant disease characterized by the accumulation of B lymphocytes in the blood, lymphoid organs, and bone marrow, is the second most common type of leukemia in adults, accounting for about 7,000 new cases of leukemia each year. Presently, there is no cure for CLL, and the overall goal of leukemia treatment is to bring about a remission. Therefore, identifying new proteins that may serve as a target for inducing cell death in the malignant cells is highly desirable. The present technology identifies a new regulator protein that is essential for the survival of CLL cells.

Applications


• Treatment of CLL, as well as other B cell-related cancers (e.g. gastric cancer and renal cell carcinoma), by blocking CD84 activity
• Diagnosis of CLL

Advantages


• Very specific to malignant B cells
• Diagnosis, and therefore treatment, can be made at early stages of the disease

 


Technology's Essence


B cells taken from CLL patients have a high level of the protein CD84. Stimulation of CD84 upregulates the survival of B-CLL. However, inhibition of CD84 activity with a blocking antibody downregulates the expression of another protein which controls B-CLL survival, thus inducing cell death. Therefore, the present invention reveals CD84 as a regulator of B-CLL survival

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  • Prof. Idit Shachar
1446
Peptide sequences for efficient inhibition of nuclear translocation of proteins. The ability to regulate cellular localization of a biological component is important for many functions such as gene therapy, protection from toxic chemicals, transport of anti-cancer agents, and possibly preventing...

Peptide sequences for efficient inhibition of nuclear translocation of proteins.

The ability to regulate cellular localization of a biological component is important for many functions such as gene therapy, protection from toxic chemicals, transport of anti-cancer agents, and possibly preventing nuclear translocation of oncogenes. To ensure accurate cellular functioning, the spatial distribution of proteins needs to be delicately regulated and coordinated. This is particularly apparent in many signaling proteins that dynamically and rapidly change their localization upon extracellular stimulation. The present invention provides peptides that may be used to regulate the nuclear translocation of proteins that endogenously comprise such nuclear translocation signals.

Applications


  • Inhibition of translocation of endogenous oncogenes and thereby the transcription they induce.

Advantages


  • Regulation of the level of nuclear targeting activity by selection of different amino acids in the peptide sequences.

  • Peptides can be modified in order to make them more stable in the body.
  • Modulation of the nuclear activities of proteins without harming their cytoplasmic activities.

Technology's Essence


The current invention identifies a 3-amino acid domain (Ser-Pro-Ser, SPS), which is a nuclear translocation signal present in signaling proteins such as extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK2) protein, SMAD3 and mitogen-activated protein kinase 1 (MEK1). SPS participates in nuclear translocation upon extracellular stimulation. Since several of these proteins are involved in the regulation of cellular proliferation and oncogenic transformation, the SPS domain can compete with the translocation machinery and therefore prevent the translocation of the proteins into the nucleus. As was shown in animal models, inhibiting this mechanism has an advantage over other ways of inhibition as it doesn’t lead to a negative feedback loop which may enhance the production of the protein.

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  • Prof. Rony Seger
1498
MicroRNAs as potential biomarkers for ALS.Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating disease that progressively destroys motor neurons in the brain and the spinal cord, eventually causing paralysis and death. Currently, there are approximately 25,000 patients with ALS in the USA, with a...

MicroRNAs as potential biomarkers for ALS.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating disease that progressively destroys motor neurons in the brain and the spinal cord, eventually causing paralysis and death. Currently, there are approximately 25,000 patients with ALS in the USA, with a median age of onset of 55 years. Approximately 5–10% of patients with ALS have a family history, and these patients most frequently inherit the disease in an autosomal dominant manner. Family-based linkage studies have led to the identification of several genes for familial ALS. However these findings only explain a small fraction of all ALS cases. The majority of ALS cases have no obvious family history and are referred to as sporadic ALS. At present, there is no effective therapy for the disease and patients usually die within 2-5 years after the onset of symptoms. Thus, there is an urgent need for biomarkers that could substantially aid early diagnosis of ALS and will help in designing decisive clinical trials of new drugs. The present technology provides specific microRNAs that can serve as potential biomarkers for ALS.

Applications


  • Unique patterns of microRNA expression profile in the cerebrospinal fluid of ALS patients could be useful as molecular biomarkers for disease diagnosis and eventually prediction of therapeutic responses.
  • The suggested ALS biomarkers may be employed in drug development studies.

 


Advantages


  •  MicroRNAs can be precisely quantified using qRT-PCR that provides exceptionally high sensitivity and specificity of detection.
  • The small size of microRNAs offers a unique advantage since they are more stable and less prone to enzymatic degradation, and are therefore amenable to an accurate assessment of their expression levels.

Technology's Essence


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous small noncoding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression in a posttranscriptional fashion and contribute to a wide variety of biological processes. miRNAs play important roles in the development of the central nervous system and their involvement in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer’s disease has been recently established. The outlined technology describes specific miRNAs that are enriched in motor neurons and are significantly downregulated in mouse models of hereditary motor neuron disease (SOD1G93A and SMN1). These miRNAs may serve as putative biomarkers for motor neuron diseases such as ALS by measurement of their expression levels in cerebrospinal fluid samples collected from affected individuals.

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  • Dr. Eran Hornstein
1499
Bladder cancer is a common malignancy; it is the 4th most common cancer in males and the 9th in females.  The presenting symptom is usually blood in the urine, and diagnosis is currently based on cystoscopy, which is invasive, costly, painful and time consuming.  To date, no biomarker has been...

Bladder cancer is a common malignancy; it is the 4th most common cancer in males and the 9th in females.  The presenting symptom is usually blood in the urine, and diagnosis is currently based on cystoscopy, which is invasive, costly, painful and time consuming.  To date, no biomarker has been identified in the urine that might be used for screening, staging, prognosis and monitoring treatment.  We now report that the amount of the 60 kDa heat shock protein (HSP60) in a subject’s urine is a biomarker for muscle invasion in patients with bladder cancer – stage T2 and higher.  Moreover, subjects with stage T1 disease can be stratified by their urine levels of HSP60 into a sub-group likely to progress into stage T2 or into a sub-group more likely to respond to conservative treatment with BCG, which does not require removal of the bladder.  The distinction between these two sub-groups of T1 bladder cancer can identify earlier subjects in need of cystectomy, while sparing others unnecessary major surgery.

Applications


  • Screening subjects with overt hematuria, or at risk of developing bladder cancer (such as heavy smokers)
  • tratifying bladder cancer subjects
  • Prognosis
  • Determining treatment program
  • Monitoring response to therapy.

Advantages


  • Non-invasive
  • Easy to apply
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Prognositic.

Technology's Essence


Quantitative measurement of HSP60 levels in a subject’s urine by ELISA, radio-immunoassay or other simple assays.

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  • Prof. Irun R. Cohen
1518
Improved immunotherapy for breast cancer. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to ErbB-2/HER2 growth factor receptor, or to its sibling, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), prolong survival of cancer patients, especially when combined with cytotoxic therapies. However, low effectiveness of...

Improved immunotherapy for breast cancer.

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to ErbB-2/HER2 growth factor receptor, or to its sibling, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), prolong survival of cancer patients, especially when combined with cytotoxic therapies. However, low effectiveness of therapeutic mAbs and the evolution of patient resistance call for improvements. Furthermore, the response to the clinically approved monotherapy of Herceptin (a humanized mAb directed against ErbB-2), is relatively low (~15%) and short lived (median duration, 9 months). Therefore, there is a need to improve the therapeutic treatment against this receptor. The present technology enhances the therapeutic activity of anti-ErB-2 receptor antibodies, by combining two or more epitope-distinct antibodies.

Applications


  • Improved treatment of ErbB-2-overexpressing tumors (e.g. in breast and ovary cancers).


Advantages


  • May enhance patient response and delay acquisition of resistance.
  • Enhancement of therapeutic efficacy and synergy with chemotherapy.

Technology's Essence


Optimal selection of mAbs for cancer immunotherapy may improve its therapeutic potential. The outlined technology addresses an emerging strategy, which enhances the therapeutic activity of anti-receptor antibodies by combining two mAbs engaging distinct epitopes. It was demonstrated that pairs of anti-ErbB-2 mAbs better inhibit ErbB-2-overexpressing tumors than the respective individual mAbs, both in vitro and in vivo.

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  • Prof. Yosef Yarden
1546
Improvement of protein production by modulating the tRNA pool. For maximal heterologous expression of proteins per host cell, the optimal level of expression of genes needs to be addressed. The science and art of expressing a gene from one species in another often amounts to modifying the codons of the...

Improvement of protein production by modulating the tRNA pool. For maximal heterologous expression of proteins per host cell, the optimal level of expression of genes needs to be addressed. The science and art of expressing a gene from one species in another often amounts to modifying the codons of the gene, and supplementing the host with specific tRNAs. Yet the full challenge of heterologous expression is not only to maximize expression per host cell, but also to minimize the burden on the host. The outlined invention describes a universally conserved profile of translation efficiency along mRNAs, based on the adaptation between coding sequences and the tRNA pool, to improve heterologous gene expression and thus protein production.

Applications


  • Improvement of the yield and success rate of recombinant protein production.

Advantages


  • Protein expression levels can be artificially increased
  • Minimization of the burden on the host

Technology's Essence


The translation efficiency profile of a gene is defined, for each codon position, as the estimated availability of the tRNAs that participate in translating that codon. The profile is high at codons that correspond to abundant tRNAs and low at codons that correspond to rare tRNAs. In this invention it is predicted that the first ~30-50 codons of genes appear to be translated with a low efficiency “ramp”, while the last ~50 codons show highest efficiency. The “ramp” serves as a late stage of initiation and is an optimal and robust means to reduce ribosomal traffic jams, thus minimizing occupation of free ribosomes, ribosomal abortions and, ultimately, the cost of protein expression. Implementation of appropriate ramping in heterlogous proteins, given the host?s tRNA pool, might improve the yield of expressed recombinant proteins.

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  • Prof. Yitzhak Pilpel
1549
A tailor-made strategy for cancer treatment. The ErbB family of tyrosine kinase receptors and their ligands play important roles in development and tissue remodeling throughout adulthood. ErbB proteins are involved in several types of human cancer. Clinical studies indicate that over-expression of one...

A tailor-made strategy for cancer treatment. The ErbB family of tyrosine kinase receptors and their ligands play important roles in development and tissue remodeling throughout adulthood. ErbB proteins are involved in several types of human cancer. Clinical studies indicate that over-expression of one or more ErbB ligands correlates with decreased patient survival. The currently approved drugs for the treatment of cancers driven by the ErbB family target the receptors rather than the ligands, and they include either monoclonal anti-receptor antibodies, or tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Because of resistance and moderate clinical efficacies of anti-receptor antibodies and TKIs it is worthwhile considering alternative strategies. The present technology combines several antibodies, capable of blocking ErbB ligands, with chemotherapy.

Applications


  • Treatment of cancers that possess the ErbB receptors (e.g. colorectal, liver, bladder, and head and neck tumors)

Advantages


  • Effective blockade of the tumorigenic action of ErbB-specific ligands
  • The combination protocol may enhance the sensitivity to chemotherapy

Technology's Essence


In the outlined technology, monoclonal antibodies were generated against two ligands, namely TGF-? and heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor. Combining the two antibodies with a chemotherapeutic drug enhanced the ability of chemotherapy to inhibit pancreatic tumors in mice. Therefore, this technology offers a general cancer therapeutic strategy that entails profiling the repertoire of growth factors secreted by a tumor, and combining with chemotherapy several antibodies capable of blocking autocrine ligands, in a way that sensitizes tumors to cytotoxicity and delays onset of chemoresistance.

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  • Prof. Yosef Yarden
1555
Albumin binding probe for extending the lifetime of drugs. Most polypeptide drugs, in particular non-glycosylated proteins of molecular mass less than 50 kDa, are short-lived species in vivo having circulatory half lives of 5-20 min. Drug association with endogenous albumin may be suitable for...

Albumin binding probe for extending the lifetime of drugs. Most polypeptide drugs, in particular non-glycosylated proteins of molecular mass less than 50 kDa, are short-lived species in vivo having circulatory half lives of 5-20 min. Drug association with endogenous albumin may be suitable for designing an approach to protract the action in vivo of, potentially, any short-lived peptide/protein drug. In doing so two principal obstacles must be overcome: (1) following its conjugation, the probe introduced into a peptide or a protein should have sufficient affinity to albumin to manifest prolonged action in vivo, and (2) in case such covalent introduction results in an inactive product, the latter should be capable to undergo slow reactivation at physiological conditions. The present invention relates to engineering prolonged-acting prodrugs employing an albumin-binding probe that undergoes slow hydrolysis at physiological conditions.

Applications


  • Prolonging half life of short-lined drugs

Advantages


  • Prolonging the action of the drug without effecting its activity 
  • A desirable pharmacokinetic pattern

Technology's Essence


Since albumin is long-lived in vivo, drugs and endogenous substances that tightly associate with it have lower clearance rates than that of the unbound substances, and exhibit prolonged lifetime profiles in vivo. The present invention is based on a concept according to which a long chain fatty acid (LCFA) like albuminbinding compound is covalently linked to a short-lived amino-containing drug to form a non-covalent drug conjugate capable of associating with albumin in vivo, i.e., a long-lived prodrug that gradually releases the pharmacologically active constituent. This approach has been successfully implemented with several drugs (e.g. insulin, exendin and gentamicin).

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  • Prof. Matityahu Fridkin
  • Prof. Yoram Shechter
1601
A potent combination therapy against non-invasive breast cancer Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females. Among the different subtypes of breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) represents an intermediate step between normal breast tissue and invasive breast cancer. Currently, about 25...

A potent combination therapy against non-invasive breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females. Among the different subtypes of breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) represents an intermediate step between normal breast tissue and invasive breast cancer. Currently, about 25% of breast cancers that are diagnosed in the US are DCIS. DCIS is commonly treated by surgical intervention followed by adjuvant radiation therapy. However, a significant fraction of the DCIS lesions, which display HER2 gene amplification, are associated with increased relapse rate following surgery. Therefore, in cases of HER2-overexpressing DCIS a molecularly targeted therapy might be necessary for complete eradication of microscopic remnants following surgical tumor removal. The current technology presents an potential DCIS therapeutic strategy that collectively targets the functionally linked HER2 and Notch pathways.

 

Applications


  • Combination therapy for DCIS patients following surgical tumor removal.
  • Classification of DCIS patients according to HER2 Notch activation patterns to identify patients with increased risk of relapse after surgery.
  • Diagnostic antibodies to NRG4 to screen for cancer cell subtypes that express/over-express NRG4.
  • NRG4 fusion conjugates, where NRG4 acts as a vehicle to direct the conjugate to cells specifically expressing the receptor ErbB4.

 


Advantages


  • Targeted cancer therapies will give doctors a better way to tailor cancer treatment.
  • Targeted cancer therapies hold the promise of being more selective, thus harming fewer normal cells, reducing side effects, and improving the quality of life.
  • The proposed treatment strategy may prove beneficial in DCIS patients with poor prognosis.

 


Technology's Essence


The HER2/Neu oncogene, a member of the HER/ErbB signaling network, encodes a receptor-like tyrosine kinase, whose overexpression in breast cancer predicts poor prognosis and resistance to conventional therapies. Pre-invasive lesions, such as DCIS, overexpress HER2 at higher frequency than invasive ones. Another signal transduction pathway critical for breast cancer progression comprises Notch family receptors and their membrane-bound ligands. In the current technology, a team of researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science uncovered that overexpression of HER2 in a novel experimental model of DCIS leads to transcriptional upregulation of Notch pathway components, resulting in enhanced tumor cell survival and proliferation. Combined treatment with HER2 and Notch pathway inhibitors resulted in decreased proliferative and tumorigenic potential. The current technology offers specific and combined targeting of HER2 and Notch pathways for DCIS treatment. This approach may also be tailored for DCIS patients with enhanced co-expression of HER2 and Notch.

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  • Prof. Yosef Yarden
1602
A novel technology for robust downregulation of bacterial genes.RNAi (RNA interference) is a powerful method for downregulation of gene expression in eukaryotic systems. RNAi-based technologies are extensively applied as scientific research tools, as well as actively explored as promising therapeutic...

A novel technology for robust downregulation of bacterial genes.RNAi (RNA interference) is a powerful method for downregulation of gene expression in eukaryotic systems. RNAi-based technologies are extensively applied as scientific research tools, as well as actively explored as promising therapeutic agents. However, although an efficient way to dowregulate bacterial and microbial gene expression has been long sought after, RNAi is not applicable in these species. The present technology offers a rapid and simple means to silence gene products in prokaryotic systems.

Applications


  • Treatment of bacterial infection, by targeting bacterial genes vital for antibiotic resistance or bacterial virulence.
  • Enhanced biofuel production by targeting genes that interfere with ethanol and/or hydrogen biosynthesis.
  • Generation of improved bacterial strains for the diary industry (e.g. phage-resistant strains).
  • Discerning prokaryotic gene function by silencing the expression of the gene product.

Advantages


  • The present technology may offer means to treat antibiotics-resistant strains.
  • Because CRISPR-based technology does not involve ‘classical’ genetic engineering, the resulting products do not require labeling as 'genetically modified'.
  • CRISPR-based technology system allows for the development of a rapid, scalable and high-throughput platform to probe the function of genetic circuits in prokaryotes.

Technology's Essence


CRISPR (clusters of regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) is a recently discovered anti-viral system that functions as the prokaryotic-equivalent of the adaptive immune system. CRISPR provides bacteria with protection against foreign genetic elements such as viruses by incorporating short stretches of invading DNA sequences in genomic CRISPR loci. These integrated sequences are thought to function as a genetic memory that prevents the host from being infected by the viruses and other genetic elements containing this recognition sequence. A team of researchers at the Weizmann Institute, headed by Dr. Rotem Sorek, has developed a unique technology to gain robust and rapid silencing of prokaryotic gene expression by exploiting the CRISPR system capacity to efficiently downregulate gene products. This potent technology can potentially be utilized in a broad range of areas such as in the agriculture, food and pharmaceutical industries as well as in the scientific research arena.

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  • Prof. Rotem Sorek

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