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Scientist
1610
A novel method for increasing Insulin content in pancreatic beta cells. In healthy individuals, Insulin is produced by beta cells of the pancreas. In people with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), these cells do not produce enough Insulin to effectively fine-tune blood sugar levels. In the US alone...

A novel method for increasing Insulin content in pancreatic beta cells.

In healthy individuals, Insulin is produced by beta cells of the pancreas. In people with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), these cells do not produce enough Insulin to effectively fine-tune blood sugar levels. In the US alone there are up to 3 million affected individuals with 30,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Worldwide, T1DM incidence has been increasing in recent years by 2% to 5%. Traditionally treated by multiple daily injections of recombinant Insulin, T1DM management represents a significant burden to both patients and the healthcare system. Recent data estimate that T1DM costs the US ~$15 billion annually in medical costs and lost income. Thus, novel therapeutic approaches to amplify Insulin production in diseased beta cells or to replace them entirely are in great need. The present technology describes a cell-based method to enhance beta cell differentiation and Insulin production by the downregulation of a pancreas-enriched microRNA.

 

Applications


  • Cell replacement therapy: directed differentiation of stem cells towards a beta cell fate followed by transplantation of these engineered cells into patients.
  • These methods can potentially be applied to other Insulin deficiency-related conditions such as diabetes mellitus type 2, metabolic syndrome and obesity.

Advantages


  • Simple and robust method for accelerating beta cell differentiation.
  • Cell base therapy for diabetes.
  • Increasing Insulin level.

Technology's Essence


A research team headed by Dr. Hornstein from the Weizmann Institute has discovered an essential role for microRNA-7 (miR-7), a microRNA that is highly and selectively expressed in the endocrine pancreas, in the regulation of beta cell differentiation. By down-regulating the expression of miR-7, the researchers were able to accelerate beta cell differentiation, and concomitantly to augment their Insulin production rate. The data gained from these studies can be further utilized in cell-based therapy applications to restore Insulin production in damaged beta cells, or alternately to replace these cells with stem cells coaxed to differentiate towards a beta cell fate.

 

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  • Dr. Eran Hornstein
1615
A new process for the production of catalytic metal coated WS2 nanotubes, using cobalt, palladium, nickel, chromium and noble metals.These metal coated nanotubes were shown to have catalytic activity in different organic reactions including degradation of known organic contaminants (Co coated) and...

A new process for the production of catalytic metal coated WS2 nanotubes, using cobalt, palladium, nickel, chromium and noble metals.
These metal coated nanotubes were shown to have catalytic activity in different organic reactions including degradation of known organic contaminants (Co coated) and Suzuki and Heck coupling reactions (Pd coated).
Since catalytic chemical reactions are at the heart of many processes and industries, and efficient catalysis is essential for both economic and environmental reasons, this development of a new catalytic platform bears a potential to influence many diverse markets.

Applications


  • New and efficient Pd-based catalysts for diverse reactions.
  • New and efficient crude oil HDS catalysts.
  • New and efficient wastewater purification catalysts.
  • Production of activated hybrid WS2 nanotubes with new properties.
  • Tailoring catalytic nanotubes with different band gaps adjusted to different activation and catalysis applications.

Advantages


  • Formation of highly active catalytic nanotubes
  • Utilization of the nanotubes' very large surface area
  • Recruiting specific nanotube semiconducting characteristics for special catalysis requirements

Technology's Essence


The invention involves deposition of metal nanoparticles on prepared WS2 nanotubes (INT-WS2) in a two stage process involving Pd-nanocrystallites assisted activation followed by electroless plating.
In this process WS2 nanotubes are synthesized according to known procedures. The nanotubes are then covered by metal nanoparticles in a simple and straightforward procedure resulting with highly active nanotubes which can be utilized as catalysts for various chemical reactions.
This new hybrid technology opens the way to a new family of highly efficient, tunable catalysts; the INTs large surface area, specific band gap design and choice of metal result in an ability to produce unique tailor-made catalysts, applicable to many different industries. 

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  • Prof. Tenne Reshef
  • Prof. Tenne Reshef
1616
Existing treatments against cancer are non-sufficiently selective. Immunotherapy based treatment offers highly selective and efficient solution to this problem. A promising approach in Immunotherapy is adoptive cell therapy (ACT). In ACT, therapeutic lymphocytes are administrated to patients in order...

Existing treatments against cancer are non-sufficiently selective. Immunotherapy based treatment offers highly selective and efficient solution to this problem.
A promising approach in Immunotherapy is adoptive cell therapy (ACT). In ACT, therapeutic lymphocytes are administrated to patients in order to treat a disease. In this process antibody-type cells are generated ex vivo, and then infused to the patient. By this technology the cells can be redirected against specific tumors via genetic engineering, using chimeric receptors.
Currently ACT is logistically and economically challenging since it is limited by the used of the patients’ own cells. Another key concern is safety, due to the danger that the allogeneic cells will be rejected by the patient, or will attack the patient.
In cancer, use of tumor specific, chimeric receptor redirected allogeneic T cells can transform ACT into a standardized, off-the shelf therapy. Overall this method proposes a safe and effective adoptive therapy using allogeneic cells while avoiding the use of bone marrow transplantation (BMT).

Applications


  • Cancer immunotherapy

Advantages


  • Off the shelf, standard treatment
  • Safe
  • Effective
  • No bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is required

Technology's Essence


A novel approach for adoptive immunotherapy using fully MHC-mismatch allogeneic T cells. These cells are redirected with tumor specific non-MHC-restricted antibody-based chimeric antigen receptor (T-bodies) in the absence of Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). In order to create a standardize treatment, the redirection of T cells can be done through an antibody-based chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), thus creating ‘universal effector T cells’. This is based on a combination of of MHC-mismatched allogeneic T-cells with an MHC unrestricted chimeric antigen receptor. These cells would recognize their target independently of MHC restriction, therefore applied as an ‘off-the shelf’ immunotherapy. Regarding the second challenge of avoiding GVHD, by using a controlled lymphodepletion the researchers were able to create therapeutic window during which the allo-T-body cells could destroy the tumor before being themselves rejected.

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  • Prof. Zelig Eshhar
1621
Novel treatment for angiogenesis-related diseases.Angiogenesis — the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vasculature — has an essential role in development, reproduction and repair. Pathological angiogenesis is a common theme in a broad range of diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases,...

Novel treatment for angiogenesis-related diseases.Angiogenesis — the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vasculature — has an essential role in development, reproduction and repair. Pathological angiogenesis is a common theme in a broad range of diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, age-related macular degeneration and atherosclerosis. The global market for angiogenesis stimulators and inhibitors is forecast to reach ~US $50 billion by the year 2015. Most of the currently marketed angiogenesis regulators, such as Avastin, typically display modest efficacy and therefore further highlight the great need for the development of novel therapeutics. The current technology presents a novel method to treat angiogenesis-related disorders by modulating apolipoprotein B (ApoB).

Applications


  • ApoB is a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of cancer and other non-neoplastic diseases.
  • ApoB levels may serve as a biomarker for cancer metastasis.

Advantages


  • The anti-angiogenic effect of LDL administration was demonstrated in vivo, in zebrafish models, as well as in vitro, in relevant human cells lines.
  • Regulation of ApoB levels may be applied to treat a broad range of angiogenesis-dependent diseases.
  • Detection of ApoB levels can be readily achieved by analysis of body fluids such as blood and plasma.

Technology's Essence


Using a high-throughput genetic screen for vascular defects in zebrafish, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have identified a genetic mutation that leads to excessive angiogenesis. The mutated gene is responsible for the assembly of ApoB-containing lipoproteins such as LDL, otherwise known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol. The group has found that low levels of LDL promote the formation of new blood vessels by directly interacting with the VEGF pathway. The outlined technology offers methods to modulate the levels of ApoB in order to stimulate, or inhibit angiogenesis, dependent on the therapeutic strategy. For example, inhibition of angiogenesis by increasing ApoB levels may repress tumor growth and attenuate its metastatic potential. In another application of this technology, increased circulating levels of ApoB can serve as a biomarker for the overproduction of blood vessels, thus enabling early diagnosis of pathogenic states in angiogenesis-dependent diseases.

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  • Prof. Karina Yaniv
1628
New generation of superior nature-inspired therapeutics for treating inflammation.Inflammation is characterized by elevated levels of TNF-?. Neutralizing TNF-? activity was shown to be beneficial for patients with chronic autoimmune inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and...

New generation of superior nature-inspired therapeutics for treating inflammation.Inflammation is characterized by elevated levels of TNF-?. Neutralizing TNF-? activity was shown to be beneficial for patients with chronic autoimmune inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, current treatments of such conditions include general anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs that are of limited effectiveness and may cause serious side effects. Another class of drugs includes targeted therapies directed against TNF-?, that are associated with serious infections including tuberculosis (TB) and sepsis as well as increased risk of cancer in some cases. Thus, there is an urgent need for highly selective, safer and more effective drugs for inflammatory conditions that involve TNF-? as a key mediator. The present technology introduces a novel generation of candidate drugs that selectively inhibit the processing of TNF-?, thereby preventing it from exerting its pro-inflammatory properties. This technology provides a framework for the development of safer and more effective therapeutics for IBD and related autoimmune disorders.

Applications


  • Treatment of autoimmune inflammatory conditions such as IBD and RA.
  • Treatment of neuroinflammatory conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Treatment of other inflammatory mediated diseases such as psoriasis, systemic sclerosis and ankylosing spondylitis.
  • All MMPs and ADAMs proteases possess an autoinhibitory pro-domain and therefore this technology can be broadened to other MMP and ADAM targets.

Advantages


  • TACE pro-domain is highly potent and efficient.
  • TACE pro-domain is metabolically stable, unlike small molecule inhibitors of TACE.
  • Targeting TACE through nature-inspired protein design may constitute a safer approach to combat TNF-? induced inflammation.
  • Unlike non-specific small molecule inhibitors, which target the conserved catalytic zinc site of TACE, TACE pro-domain shares little homology to other MMPs, making it a good candidate for specific inhibitor of TACE.

Technology's Essence


The A disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17 (ADAM17), also known as tumor necrosis factor-? converting enzyme (TACE), has been defined as the major shedding protease for a broad range of substrates predominantly the key immuno-regulatory cytokines TNF-?. Cleavage by TACE renders TNF-? pro-inflammatory, highlighting ADAM17 as a rationale target for treatment of autoimmune diseases such as IBD and arthritis. A team of researchers at the Weizmann institute headed by Prof. Irit Sagi, has employed a sophisticated approach towards TACE targeting by exploiting its autoinhibitory pro-domain as a platform for the ‘smart design’ of TACE selective natural inhibitors. The therapeutic potential of TACE pro-domain was demonstrated in IBD mouse models, where TACE pro-domain administration showed significant improvement in multiple parameters such as reduced mortality and weight lost, in a dose dependent manner. Additional in vivo studies demonstrated that the TACE pro-domain is highly stable in vivo and harbors specificity towards the activated immune cells located in colon lesions. Thus, the novel TACE inhibitor presented in this technology leads to significant therapeutic effects and is beneficial in controlling inflammation in IBD disease manifestations in mice.

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  • Prof. Irit Sagi
1629
A new unsupervised learning tool for analyzing large datasets using very limited known data via clustering was developed by the group of Prof. Domany. This solution was originally demonstrated for inferring pathway deregulation scores for specific tumor samples on the basis of expression data.Nearly...

A new unsupervised learning tool for analyzing large datasets using very limited known data via clustering was developed by the group of Prof. Domany. This solution was originally demonstrated for inferring pathway deregulation scores for specific tumor samples on the basis of expression data.
Nearly all methods analyze pathway activity in a global “atomistic” manner, based on an entire sample set, not attempting to characterize individual tumors. Other methods use detailed pathway activity mechanism information and other data that is unavailable in a vast majority of cancer datasets.
The new algorithm described here transforms gene-level information into pathway- level information, generating a compact and biologically relevant representation of each sample. This can be used as an effective prognostic and predictive tool that helps healthcare providers to find optimal treatment strategies for cancer patients. Furthermore, this method can be generically used for reducing the degrees of freedom in order to derive meaningful output from multi-dimensional data using limited knowns.

Applications


  • Personalized cancer treatment.
  • A tool for mining insight from large datasets with limited knowns.

Advantages


  • Provides personalized solutions.
  • Can be utilized for rare conditions with very limited known information.
  • Proved on real oncologic datasets.
  • A Generic unsupervised learning tool.

Technology's Essence


The algorithm analyzes NP pathways, one at a time, assigning a score DP(i) to each sample i and pathway P, which estimates the extent to which the behavior of pathway P deviates from normal, in sample i. To determine this pathway deregulation score the expression levels of those dP genes that belong to P using available databases are used. Each sample i is a point in this dP dimensional space; the entire set of samples forms a cloud of points, and the “principal curve” that captures the variation of this cloud is calculated. Then each sample is projected onto this curve. The pathway deregulation score is defined as the distance DP(i), measured along the curve, of the projection of sample i, from the projection of the normal samples.

 

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  • Prof. Eytan Domany
  • Prof. Eytan Domany
1633
The ErbB family consists of four structurally related receptor tyrosine kinases. Excessive ErbB signaling is associated with enhanced tumorogenesis, and as such serves as a major therapeutic target in a wide array of solid tumor cancers. A member of this family, the human epidermal growth factor...

The ErbB family consists of four structurally related receptor tyrosine kinases. Excessive ErbB signaling is associated with enhanced tumorogenesis, and as such serves as a major therapeutic target in a wide array of solid tumor cancers. A member of this family, the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (ErbB-2/HER2), is overexpressed in a variety of human cancers, including breast and gastric tumors. ErbB-2/HER2 amplification correlates with elevated metastatic activity and poor prognosis. An innovative and highly potent approach for cancer treatment is proposed here, based on delivering novel nucleic acid-based entities called aptamers targeting ErbB-2/HER2. Remarkably, the antitumor effect exerted by the multimeric anti-ErbB-2/HER2 aptamers is twofold stronger than that elicited by currently available antiErbB-2 monocolonal antibodies.

Applications


  • A novel class of molecules for the treatment of human cancers exhibiting excessive ErbB-2/HER2 signaling.
  • Combination with other therapeutic modalities may predictably enhance the antitumor activity of the aptamer.
  • Aptamers may also be harnessed as carrier molecules to deliver toxic loads into cancer cells.

Advantages


  • Unlike traditional methods for producing monoclonal antibodies, no organisms are required for the in vitro selection of oligonucleotides. This facilitates the selection and chemical design process of aptamers.
  • Aptamers are produced chemically in a readily scalable process.
  • Non-immunogenic.
  • Unlike other oligonucleotide-based therapeutics (siRNAs, antisense RNA), aptamer therapeutics can be developed for intracellular as well as extracellular or cell-surface targets.

Technology's Essence


Aptamers are single-stranded oligonucleotides that fold into defined architectures and avidly bind to targets such as proteins, with the same effectiveness and affinity associated with mAbs. Using a novel screening technology the research team has identified a multimeric aptamer with pronounced ErbB-2/HER2 inhibitory activity. Preliminary preclinical experiments show that treatment of gastric tumor-bearing mice with trimeric aptamer resulted in reduced tumor growth that was nearly twofold stronger than that achieved with a monoclonal anti-ErbB-2/HER2 antibody.

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  • Prof. Yosef Yarden
  • Prof. Michael Sela
1640
Although early programs targeting MMPs (matrix metalloproteins) were largely unsuccessful due to adverse side effects, they remain a viable and highly desirable therapeutic target. The main obstacle in the attempts to target MMPs is the ability to selectively target individual family members. The...

Although early programs targeting MMPs (matrix metalloproteins) were largely unsuccessful due to adverse side effects, they remain a viable and highly desirable therapeutic target. The main obstacle in the attempts to target MMPs is the ability to selectively target individual family members. The present invention provides highly selective targeted therapy against MMP-7, which is strongly associated with aspects of cancer development such as angiogenesis and metastasis.
The innovative concept leading to this high selectivity is immunization with both a synthetic metal-protein mimicry molecule, previously developed by the present inventors, followed by the metalloenzyme itself (e.g. MMP-7). The resulting antibody exhibits exceptional degree of specificity towards MMP-7 over other MMPs.
The present technology offers an opportunity to re-introduce improved MMP-targeting agents to the cancer therapeutics market, in particular aggressive cancers that face a major unmet medical need. 

Applications


  • Therapy for MMP-7 associated diseases
  • Diagnostic tool for MMP-7 associated diseases

Advantages


  • Highly selective
  • Safe – avoids adverse effects that are associated with broad spectrum MMP inhibitors.
  • Efficient – targeting a physiological active conformation of the enzyme

Technology's Essence


The present technology is based on a previous invention that was developed in Prof. Sagi's lab, of synthetic metal-protein mimicry molecules that mimic the conserved structure of the metalloenzyme catalytic zinc-histidine complex within the active site of each MMP enzyme.
These molecules were shown to be powerful immunogens in the generation of highly selective MMP antibodies since they recognize both electrical and structural determinants residing within the enzyme active site. The potential of this method to successfully generate MMP-targeting therapeutics was shown for MMP-9/2 inhibitory antibodies in mouse models of inflammatory bowel disease.
Prof Sagi and her team now take this invention a step further to achieve even higher specificity. They show that immunizing with the mimicking molecules described above, followed by immunization with the metalloenzyme itself increases selectivity further.   
Implemented for MMP-7-targeting, this approach yielded an antibody with a 5 fold lower Ki towards MMP-7 than towards other MMPs (e.g. MMp-2 and MMP-9).


 

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  • Prof. Irit Sagi
  • Prof. Irit Sagi
1643
Improving beta cell isolation and purification techniques is a critical step towards the development of new cell-based therapies, diagnostic applications and diabetes research. Pancreatic Islets are composed of mixed cell populations, among them beta cells, which represent a major focus of interest due...

Improving beta cell isolation and purification techniques is a critical step towards the development of new cell-based therapies, diagnostic applications and diabetes research. Pancreatic Islets are composed of mixed cell populations, among them beta cells, which represent a major focus of interest due to their participation in the pathology of diabetes. Various techniques have been suggested to accomplish this step, yet efficient and robust isolation of beta cells remains a challenging task.
The present invention provides an efficient tag-free isolation method for pancreatic cell sub-types, based on separation according to a newly identified collection of surface markers. These markers are tightly correlated with specific functions, such as insulin production, ensuring enrichment of the desired functionality.
Probing against the newly identified markers in a combinatorial manner allows high degree of purity without compromising the yield, significantly increasing the amount of purified cells. Finally, the method is compatible with both extracts of pancreatic tissues and stem cells derived cultures, the latter set up high expectations in the diabetes therapy field.

Applications


A kit for isolation of distinct pancreatic cell subtypes

Advantages


  • High purity without compromising the yield of isolated cells.
  • Compatible with a variety of heterogeneous sources including cells extracted from pancreatic tissue, committed lineages of stem cells and cultures of differentiated stem cells.                                               

Technology's Essence


Using an innovative high throughput screen, linking specific cell surface markers with a particular functionality (e.g. insulin production), a collection of markers not previously identified in connection with pancreatic cells or with diabetes was found to be consistently expressed in human islets.
Cell isolation according to the selected markers is performed by exposing the heterogeneous source of cells to specific antibodies that recognize these markers, followed by a choice of sorting techniques such as fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS).
The innovative concept of this method is the use of marker combinations, iterating the selection. Only cells that express both markers will be sorted out, thus increasing specificity and reducing contaminations. This increased specificity gives rise to a higher degree of purity without compromising the yield, resulting in larger amounts of isolated cells.
By applying the initial screen in yet another iteration, additional markers can be added to the selection, to refine the isolation procedure. 
As this method is generally applicable to the purification of mature as well as pluripotent or partially differentiated beta cell progenitors, it holds great potential for the isolation of clinically relevant cells for treatments of diabetes.

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  • Prof. Michael Walker
  • Prof. Michael Walker
1644
Computer memory and storage are among the most critical components of today’s consumer electronics and computer technology. Currently available memory and storage technologies have inherent limitations that confine the capacity and speed of access to memory devices. The present innovation is based on...

Computer memory and storage are among the most critical components of today’s consumer electronics and computer technology. Currently available memory and storage technologies have inherent limitations that confine the capacity and speed of access to memory devices.

The present innovation is based on Chiral Induced Spin Selectivity (CISS) effect that was established experimentally and theoretically in the last decade, and allows for production of inexpensive, high-density universal memory-on-chip devices, that don’t require the use of permanent magnets.

Applications


·         Inexpensive, high-density universal memory-on-chip devices

·         The technology can be used as superior alternative for both Random Access memory and Flash memory

·         Surface-controlled spintronic devices

·         Logic and data processing


Advantages


·         Up to 70 times more storage on the same physical size

·         Up to 100 times lower energy consumption

·         Si-Compatible

·         High density (can reach Si technology limit)

·         Estimated low cost

·         Overcomes limitations of other magnetic-based memory technologies


Technology's Essence


Ferromagnets can be magnetized either by external magnetic fields or by spin polarized current. However, the current density required for inducing magnetization is extremely high and significantly affects the device’s structure and performance. The newly discovered CISS effect allows for magnetization switching of Ferromagnets, which is induced solely by adsorption of chiral molecules, where much lower current density is sufficient to induce the magnetization reversal. Chiral Memory technology uses the CISS effect for spin selectivity instead of the common ferromagnetic-based spin filters. This allows, in principle, the memory bit to be miniaturized down to a single magnetic nanoparticle or a nano-scale domain. The operation principle of the device relies on the spin-selective transmission of electrons through organic chiral molecules to the ferromagnetic layer of the device, which results in the magnetization of this layer and efficient storing of bits of information. The magnetization switching by local adsorption of chiral molecules eliminates the need for a permanent magnet.

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  • Prof. Ron Naaman
1646
Dedicated and highly efficient EPR analysis of small volume samples in a range of few µl is now made simple with a novel device invented at the Weizmann Institute of Science. This device features a new ejection mechanism and a unique cold trap which enables collection of all time points in a RFQ series...

Dedicated and highly efficient EPR analysis of small volume samples in a range of few µl is now made simple with a novel device invented at the Weizmann Institute of Science. This device features a new ejection mechanism and a unique cold trap which enables collection of all time points in a RFQ series in one continuous experiment.
In order to design and develop inhibitors for therapeutic purposes, the reaction mechanisms of enzymes must be understood. For biological applications, a common methodology of addressing this need is combining Rapid Freeze Quench with Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (RFQ)-EPR, which allows the trapping and analysis of short lived intermediates in chemical reactions. However, commercial RFQ-EPR devices are limited for high field EPR applications due to the demand of large sample volumes for each time point.
Prof. Goldfarb and her team built a new RFQ apparatus based on microfluidic flow and unique ejection and freezing systems, which can be used for collecting small volume samples in capillaries for high field EPR.

Applications


This technology, combined with the variety of W-band high resolution EPR technique (ENDOR, DEER and ESEEM) enables better mechanistic studies of enzymatic reactions, with an emphasis on structural transformations during the reaction, in an efficient and accurate way.


Advantages


  • Collecting all RFQ time points in one continues experiment.
  • Produce small volume samples in the range of a few µl, and handles small capillaries, for high field ERP.
  • An improved dead time of ~5ms, relative to the commercial RFQs with a typical dead-time of 5–10 ms.
  • Ease-of-use and speed.

Technology's Essence


The innovative apparatus consists of two main parts: the microfluidic device and the freeze-quench setup. The microfluidic device comprises a mixer, which mixes the two reacting solutions, a flow path where the reaction occurs, and a sprinkler from which the solution is sprayed out of the device. Prof. Goldfarb and her colleagues improved the common mixing device by adding a fast stream of nitrogen gas which mixes with the ejected reaction solution, and sprays the frozen aerosol out in tiny drops at high speed.
The innovative RFQ device was planned to have a cold solid surface on which the freezing happens rather than the traditional ejection into a cold liquid, in order to minimize the losses of the frozen solution. Moreover the plate rotates at a speed correlated to the flow speed of the solution, thus samples of different reaction times can freeze on a different radius. The frozen samples are then collected into quartz capillaries.

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  • Prof. Daniella Goldfarb
1647
Novel algorithms developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science for Content-Based Image Retrieval (CBIR) can enhance search engines by crowd-sourcing and improved clustering.Discovering visual categories among collection of images is a long standing challenge in computer vision, which limits images-...

Novel algorithms developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science for Content-Based Image Retrieval (CBIR) can enhance search engines by crowd-sourcing and improved clustering.
Discovering visual categories among collection of images is a long standing challenge in computer vision, which limits images-based search engines. Existing approaches are searching for a common cluster model. They are focused on identifying shared visual properties (such as a shared object) and subsequently grouping the images into meaningful clusters based upon these shared properties. Such methods are likely to fail once encountering a highly variable set of images or a fairly limited number of images per category.
Researchers form Prof. Michal Irani lab suggest a novel approach based on ‘similarity by composition’. This technology detects statistically significant regions which co-occur across images, which reveals strong and meaningful affinities, even if they appear only in few images. The outcome is a reliable cluster in which each image has high affinity to many images in the cluster, and weak affinity to images outside the cluster.

Applications


  • Images search engines - can be applied for collaborative search between users.
  • Detecting abnormalities in medical imaging.
  • Quality assurance in the fields of agriculture, food, pharmaceutical industry etc.
  • Security industry- from counting people up to identifying suspicious acts.
  • Computer games and brain machine interface.

Advantages


• Can be applied to very few images, as well as benchmark datasets, and yields state-of-the-art results.
• Handles large diversity in appearance.
• The search is not a global search, it requires no semantic query, tagging or pre-existing knowledge.
• The multi-images collaboration significantly speeds up the process, reducing the number of random samples and iterations.
• Set of images are obtained in time which is nearly linear in the size of the image collection.


Technology's Essence


In “clustering by composition”, a good cluster is referred as one in which each image can be easily composed using statistically significant pieces from other images in the cluster while is difficult to compose from images outside the cluster. Multiple images exploit their ‘wisdom of crowds’ to further improve the process. Using a collaborative randomized search algorithm images can be composed from each other simultaneously and efficiently. This enables each image to direct the other images where to search for similar regions within the image collection. The resulted sets of images affinities are sparse yet meaningful and reliable.

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  • Prof. Michal Irani
1650
Efficient Production of natural Astaxanthin in bioengineered bacteria is a game changer for the nutraceuticals industry. The market-pull for natural Astaxanthin is much greater than the supply. Synthetic Astaxanthin is produced from petrochemical sources; it contains unwanted stereoisomers and is...

Efficient Production of natural Astaxanthin in bioengineered bacteria is a game changer for the nutraceuticals industry. The market-pull for natural Astaxanthin is much greater than the supply. Synthetic Astaxanthin is produced from petrochemical sources; it contains unwanted stereoisomers and is rejected by consumers who prefer natural Astaxanthin. Production of natural Astaxanthin in microalgae is laborious, expensive, and time-consuming.
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute used a combinatorial approach to construct bioengineered operons capable of modulating the expression levels of enzymes involved in the production of Astaxanthin. By combinatorial pairing of these genes in E. coli, they achieved natural Astaxanthin production 4-fold higher than previously reported.
The innovative method can challenge the deficiencies of natural Astaxanthin production in microalgae. Following scale-up and industrial development of the proprietary process, production of natural Astaxanthin has the potential to be considerably cheaper and competitive with the cost of synthesizing Astaxanthin.

Applications


  • Cost-effective Production of natural Astaxanthin for the nutraceuticals industry, animal feed industry, and others.
  • A doorway to the generation of many future products in E. coli, specifically metabolites that are produced in elaborate metabolic pathways.

Advantages


  • Full control over carotenoid accumulation profile.
  • Cheaper, straightforward generation of Astaxanthin in E. coli as opposed to generation in algae which involves high raw materials cost, land usage, air emissions etc.
  • Natural Astaxanthin as opposed to synthetic, uncontaminated with intermediate compounds and stereoisomers.

Technology's Essence


At Dr. Ron Milo’s lab researchers employed a method that uses the relatively short Ribosome Binding Site (RBS) sequence in a combinatorial manner. The methodology involves combinatorial pairing of target genes (Astaxanthin metabolic pathway enzymes) with a small set of RBS sequences and assembling them into a library of synthetic operons to explore protein expression space and to locate desired phenotypes in bacteria.
The researchers used a small set of RBS sequences to modulate in parallel the protein expression levels of multiple genes over several orders of magnitude. Using this approach, they were able to efficiently scan a large fraction of the Astaxanthin metabolic expression space with a manageable set of tested genotypes.

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  • Prof. Ron Milo
1655
Cellular senescence is a permanent cell cycle arrest induced by damage or stress applied on proliferating cells. In a cell autonomous manner, senescence is a potent barrier to tumorgenesis and contributes to the cytotoxicity of some anti-cancer drugs. However, with age senescence cells accumulate and...

Cellular senescence is a permanent cell cycle arrest induced by damage or stress applied on proliferating cells. In a cell autonomous manner, senescence is a potent barrier to tumorgenesis and contributes to the cytotoxicity of some anti-cancer drugs. However, with age senescence cells accumulate and promote a number of pathological conditions. Therefore the elimination of senescent cells is desired in order to prevent tumor- and inflammation- related pathologies and also to inhibit tissue ageing.
Today, our understanding of the mechanisms regulating the viability of senescent cells is limited. It has been suggested that senescent cells are resistant to apoptosis. Therefore, senescent cells elimination may be achieved by modifying the resistance to apoptosis of these cells.
Here the researches demonstrate the first feasible therapeutic approach that leads to eradication of senescent cells. Combination of direct induction of apoptosis in senescent cells with induction of cell death by pro-inflammatory repose induce by p21 knockdown will lead to reduction of viable senescent cells.

Applications


  • A therapeutic impact on inflammatory and fibrotic disease
  • Therapy for age-related disease such as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Atherosclerosis, cataracts, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and Osteoporosis

Advantages


  • Effective elimination of senescent cells- removal of senescent cells can prevent or delay tissue dysfunction and extend health span
  • Does not damage normal cells even at high concentrations

Technology's Essence


Researches demonstrated that the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-xL and Bcl-w level were elevated in senescence cells of both human and mouse origin. A subsequent study, in which Bcl-xL and Bcl-w were knocked down by siRNA, revealed that a combined knock down of Bcl-xL and Bcl-w had synergic effect, resulting in reduction of 50% in cell viability. Thus the increased level of anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-xL and Bcl-w may account for the apoptotic resistance of senescent cells. p21 knockdown induced pro-inflammatory response and cell death in senescent cells.
Overall, the researchers show that combined inhibition of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-xL and Bcl-w allows specific elimination of senescent cells and might be used to treat diseases where senescent cells are present. The researchers also found that the same effect might be achieved by reducing the expression of p21 in senescent cells. Integrating both approaches propose a more effective therapy.

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  • Prof. Valery Krizhanovsky
1657
Bioengineered formatotrophic E.Coli can be utilized to efficiently generate biomass from electricity. A popular direction for cleantech in recent years is that of biorefineries, that use living organisms to supply the human demand for chemical commodities. Electricity is considered to be a potential...

Bioengineered formatotrophic E.Coli can be utilized to efficiently generate biomass from electricity. A popular direction for cleantech in recent years is that of biorefineries, that use living organisms to supply the human demand for chemical commodities. Electricity is considered to be a potential feedstock for biorefineries, with the end products serving as solid or liquid storage of energy.  Such microbial electrosynthesis is highly dependent on mediators to enable electron transfer from an electrode to a living cell. 
Formic acid (formate) is an electron mediator with a number of desired features for microbial electrosynthesis. However, wild-type organisms that can grow on formate are not suitable for industrial use due to slow growth rates and metabolism. 
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute have successfully engineered a formatotrophic E.coli. By combining systematical analysis with computational tools they screened numerous metabolic pathways and identified the optimized metabolic pathway that supports efficient formate-based growth. This innovative method enables the design of industrial strains of bacteria capable of efficient microbial electrosynthesis.

Applications


  • Biofuel and chemical commodities production.

Advantages


  • Efficient and robust storage of electrical energy.
  • Cost effective conversion of C1 compounds into sugars.

Technology's Essence


By engineering E. coli, the ”workhorse” bacteria used in biotechnology and enabling its growth on formate, researches at Dr. Ron Milo’s lab paved the way for efficient microbial electrosynthesis. The Researches started by investigating many metabolic pathways in order to discover how a model organism such as E.coli can be engineered for formatotrophic growth.  estimate which pathway is most suitable to support growth on formate each pathway was examined based on various criteria such as biomass yield, thermodynamic favorability, chemical motive force, kinetics and additional practical challenges. 
One short favorable pathway was consistently identified, that is the reductive glycine pathway. Furthermore.  Researches generated an isolated organism that is able to convert formate to pyruvate or glycerate.


Licensing Status


Pending

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  • Prof. Ron Milo

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