Cancer Research: Where the Cure Begins

At Bar-Ilan University, a multi-disciplinary approach to research is making inroads in the global war against cancer. Looking beyond just the destruction of surgical removal of tumors, Bar-Ilan researchers are exploring the body's ability to heal itself, while creating new protocols for targeted treatment.

One of the world's foremost centers for cancer immunology, Bar-Ilan is home to scientists who are developing strategies for enhancing the body's natural ability to block tumor formation. Bar-Ilan laboratories are also breaking new ground in the areas of cancer genetics and genomics, tumor dynamics, targeted drug treatment and advanced medical imaging.

This page will regularly feature different BIU scientists whose research is breaking new ground.

Dr. Yaron Shav-Tal: Seeking the "On and Off Switch" to Cancer Cells

Dr. Yaron Shav-Tal

In the laboratory of Dr. Yaron Shav-Tal, new imaging techniques based on time-lapse fluorescent microscopy are making it possible to characterize genetic processes that occur inside the living nucleus. While focusing mainly on how genes are switched "on" and "off" in normal cells, he is also looking at how this process differs in the case of cancer. It has been found that cancerous growths occur primarily when a gene gets "stuck" in the "on" position, causing cells to multiply out of control.

Dr. Shav-Tal, Senior Lecturer in the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at BIU, has found the mechanism behind the "switch" for a particular gene — Cyclin D1 — that has been convincingly implicated in breast cancer. It's only a single gene in a very complex disease, but it's an exciting new insight into the workings — and eventually understanding and treatment — of all types of cancer.

Learn more about Dr. Shav-Tal's work to find the genetic "on and off" switch to cancer cells in this video:

Or gain greater insight into his work here on the BIU website »

Prof. Benjamin Sredni: Using Immunity to Improve Chemotherapy

Prof. Benjamin Sredni

Traditional anti-cancer treatments are often more painful than the disease itself. That's why a number of Bar-Ilan researchers are developing strategies that involve activating the immune system to defend the body against cancer.

Working with Prof. Michael Albeck, noted immunologist Prof. Benjamin Sredni has synthesized a compound that significantly stimulates immune function.

Called AS101, this non-toxic compound — now in Phase II Clinical Trials — has been found to prevent the drastic drop in white blood cell and platelet production that is sometimes induced by chemotherapy. More importantly, AS101 is able to turn tumors that were impervious to chemotherapy into tumors that respond to chemotherapeutic treatment.

Prof. Sredni's work was featured in a recent Jewish Business News article about a new Israeli study showing that co-treatment with the immunomodulator drug AS101 during chemotherapy successfully prevented the damage to fertility in mice. You can read the article here »

Learn more about Prof. Sredni's research here on the BIU website »

You can also view Bar-Ilan's brochure on Cancer Research here »


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