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Biotechnology, Pharma and Diagnostics

Category
Technology Name
Briefcase
Scientist
1736
Biomass production by plants and other photosynthetic organisms involves carbon fixation, the process of incorporating inorganic carbon dioxide into organic compounds. Currently carbon fixation by plants and other photosynthetic organisms is the limiting factor in biomass production. Improvement in the...

Biomass production by plants and other photosynthetic organisms involves carbon fixation, the process of incorporating inorganic carbon dioxide into organic compounds. Currently carbon fixation by plants and other photosynthetic organisms is the limiting factor in biomass production.

Improvement in the metabolic pathway related to carbon fixation would have great value in increasing crop yields, synthesizing high value compounds in algae, and developing means in removing CO2 from the atmosphere to combat climate change.

The present technology is an engineered E. coli with a carbon fixation pathway. The unique innovation can be used to efficiently screen the activity of RuBisCO, the most abundant carbon fixing enzyme on earth, which is further applicable to improving biomass production in different photosynthetic organisms such as plants and algae.

Applications


·      Powerful platform for screening and improving various enzymes in the carbon fixation process.

·      Unique metabolic pathway for use in Synthetic Biology applications.

·      Possible Carbon Credits for developing improved means of carbon fixation.


Advantages


·      E. coli is fast growing and easily manipulated by various genetic tools.

·      Novel source of biomass production.

·      Potentially low cost R&D system.


Technology's Essence


The technology functions by the recombinant insertion of two enzymes from the Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) into E. coli, kinase prk and the carboxylating enzyme RuBisCO. With further modifications, the engineered E. coli’s metabolism was divided into two subsections. First a carbon fixing metabolism that can incorporate inorganic CO2 into sugar production, the second subsection consumes organic pyruvate to produce energy to drive the aforementioned carbon fixing cycle. Subsequently the technology is overall carbon neutral, but is an inexpensive and fast platform for screening improvements in the CBB carbon fixation pathway.

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  • Prof. Ron Milo
1758
For patients with AML, identification of their specific subtype and genetic background is crucial for predicting their outlook and decision of treatment. Therefore, understanding the molecular characteristics of specific subtypes of AML can lead to novel therapeutics and improve patient survival.   The...

For patients with AML, identification of their specific subtype and genetic background is crucial for predicting their outlook and decision of treatment. Therefore, understanding the molecular characteristics of specific subtypes of AML can lead to novel therapeutics and improve patient survival.  
The present invention relates to a unique vulnerability of AML subtypes, in which specific chromosome abnormalities result in the dependence of the cancer cells on the activity of native RUNX1. Selective inhibition of RUNX1 under these genetic backgrounds results in killing of the cancer cells.  Thus, the methods described in this innovation may lead to the development of novel AML therapeutics.

Applications


 


Advantages


  • Specificity – targets a signaling vulnerability which is unique to AML and does not occur in healthy cells.
  • Critical impact – the inhibition of RUNX1 in addicted cells induces irreversible killing of the cancer cells by apoptosis rather than just inhibiting their proliferation.
  • Targeting RUNX1 in the addicted AML subtypes can potentially improve patient survival and also be used as a therapy for patients which developed secondary resistance in response to conventional chemotherapy.   

Technology's Essence


The RUNX1 transcription factor is a frequent target of various chromosomal translocations.
The t(8;21) and inv(16) AML subtypes create oncoproteins which interfere with RUNX1 activity in a dominant-negative manner.
While RUNX1 is frequently inactivated in other forms of AML, an active RUNX1 allele is maintained in both t(8;21) and inv(16) AML patients, underscoring the medical significance of native RUNX1 in A-E and C-S mediated leukemogenesis.
Knockdown (KD) of RUNX1 in cell culture models for A-E and C-S showed that these cells are physiologically dependent on RUNX1 activity for their survival and inhibition of RUNX1 in these cells leads to apoptotic cell death. This apoptosis is triggered by decreased expression of key mitosis-regulatory gene.
Therefore, AML subtypes associated with an altered RUNX1 activity or expression are addicted to native RUNX1 for their survival.  Targeting RUNX1 in these patients is expected to activate apoptosis and compromise leukemogenesis.
Thus, the genetic addiction described in the current innovation can be used for the development of novel targeted therapies for AML.

 

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  • Prof. Yoram Groner
1697
Autophagy is primarily a protective process for the cell, but it can also play a role in cell death. For example, autophagy is vital for embryonic developments, and can prevent cancer cells from spreading while deregulated autophagy was suggested to play a role in autism. Although autophagy is highly...

Autophagy is primarily a protective process for the cell, but it can also play a role in cell death. For example, autophagy is vital for embryonic developments, and can prevent cancer cells from spreading while deregulated autophagy was suggested to play a role in autism. Although autophagy is highly regulated, controlled by both positive and negative regulators little is known about the mechanisms that govern balanced autophagy in health. Consequently, there is no targeted pharmacological solution for diseases that are attributed to dysregulation in autophagy.
In this technology, a way of modulating autophagy is introduced, via the newly identified death-associated protein 1 (DAP1) which serves as autophagy suppressor. DAP1 is a direct substrate of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). mTOR serves as the cells’ integrator by combining inputs from upstream pathways thus it plays a key role in the life of the cell and affects many fundamental cellular functions. This discovery opens a new window of treating autophagy related diseases.

Applications


  • A target for drug design to treat a diverse set of diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and cellular aging.

Advantages


  • Controlling the intensity of the autophagic flux to maintain healthy state.
  • Regaining healthy state in pathogenic state.

Technology's Essence


This technology presents DAP1, a novel substrate of mTOR that negatively regulates autophagy. Initially, a link of DAP1 to autophagy was apparent in that its knockdown enhanced autophagy flux. Also, it displayed a rapid decline in its phosphorylation in response to amino acid starvation. Next, by mapping the phosphorylation sites and analyzing phosphorylation mutants it has been demonstrated that DAP1 is functionally silenced in growing cells via mTOR-dependent phosphorylation on Ser3 and Ser51. Last, Inactivation of mTOR during starvation caused a rapid reduction in these phosphorylation sites and converted the protein into an active suppressor of autophagy.

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  • Prof. Adi Kimchi
1667
Innovative treatment for beta cell regeneration in longstanding diabeticsType 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1D) is caused by the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic insulin-producing beta cells. It is an incurable disease and cannot be prevented. While the existing treatments can arrest or inhibit the...

Innovative treatment for beta cell regeneration in longstanding diabetics
Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1D) is caused by the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic insulin-producing beta cells. It is an incurable disease and cannot be prevented. While the existing treatments can arrest or inhibit the destruction of beta cells, currently no therapy exists that is effective in the millions of longstanding T1D patients, who have no residual beta cells.
A novel method is presented here for treating established diabetics. It is based on the surprising discovery that DiaPep277, already proven effective in arresting the autoimmune destruction of residual beta cells, is capable of inducing beta cell regeneration in NOD mice with advanced T1D, thus rendering DiaPep277 suitable for treating longstanding T1D patients.

Applications


  • A method to treat established diabetics to induce regeneration of beta cells.

Advantages


  • Provides treatment for a segment of the diabetic patients which currently have no treatment available.
  • Easier to approve as DiaPep270 was already proven successful in phase III clinical trials for arresting the process of beta cell destruction.

Technology's Essence


The proposed technology demonstrates that DiaPep277 is capable of inducing beta cell regeneration after the initial supply of beta cells is gone. 
DiaPep277, a p277-derived synthetic peptide administered in a digestible lipid vehicle such as Lipofundin, was shown to be effective in treatment of newly-diagnosed T1D patients by modulating and arresting the autoimmune destruction of residual beta cells. It has successfully completed a phase III clinical trial. However, DiaPep277 was never suspected to be effective in treating patients with advanced T1D who have no residual beta cells. Surprisingly, it was found in a study conducted by Prof. Cohen and his team that under a different dosage regimen, DiaPep277 is capable of inducing beta cell regeneration in NOD mice with advanced T1D. Specifically, the treated mice show increased survival, decreased blood glucose levels, and higher levels of C-peptide, a biomarker for endogenous insulin production.

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  • Prof. Irun R. Cohen
1782
L-DOPA is a high value compound used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and a precursor for other high value compounds. Current industrial methods for producing L-DOPA are problematic in terms of complexity, yield, or toxic byproducts.Betalains are robust, flavorless, natural water soluble dyes,...

L-DOPA is a high value compound used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and a precursor for other high value compounds. Current industrial methods for producing L-DOPA are problematic in terms of complexity, yield, or toxic byproducts.
Betalains are robust, flavorless, natural water soluble dyes, in the color ranges of both red-violet and yellow-orange. Currently there is no natural quality source for water soluble natural yellow dyes, with present natural yellow dyes being water insoluble.
The present technology offers an alternative method that is simple, does not produce side-products, and is non-toxic with Tyrosine being the only feedstock. The technology produces L-DOPA and natural water soluble yellow and red Betalain dyes, both within yeast and in different plant species.

Applications


  • Production of L-DOPA for use in pharmaceuticals or dietary supplements.
  • Synthesis of water soluble yellow and red natural dyes for use as colorants, antioxidants, and food supplements.
  • Altering coloration of ornamental plants by inserting the metabolic pathway.

Advantages


  • One-step reaction for L-DOPA synthesis from Tyrosine.
  • Non-toxic and non-hazardous synthesis.
  • Ecologically friendly - no waste management issues.
  • Multiple colors can be produced with yellow, red, or orange if pathways combined.
  • Flavorless - avoid influencing the taste of different products.
  • Flexibility in biosynthetic production - multiple possible host systems.
  • Specificity - no side products produced
  • Mild Conditions - enzyme(s) requires ambient temperatures.

Technology's Essence


The present technology takes advantage of the Betalain biosynthetic pathway to selectively produce L-DOPA and natural Betalain dyes. A newly discovered, specific, cytochrome P450-CYP76AD6 begins the pathway, with the capacity to convert Tyrosine to L-DOPA. Then L-DOPA is converted to Betalamic acid via DOPA 4, 5-dioxygenase.
With the Betalamic acid intermediate, the biosynthetic pathway diverges to make either Betaxanthins (yellow dyes) or Betacyanins (red dyes). In the production of yellow dyes an amine (e.g. amino acid) spontaneously reacts with Betalamic acid. In the case of red dyes, cycloDOPA (generated by the enzyme CYP76AD1 modifying Tyrosine and L-DOPA) and a Betalain-related glucosyltransferase react with Betalamic acid. Furthermore the two pathways can be done in parallel to produce an orange color.

 

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  • Prof. Asaph Aharoni
1710
Dysregulation of the immune system is the underlying cause of potentially fatal conditions such as sepsis and severe allergic reactions. Adequate therapies are currently absent or lacking. There is therefore an unmet medical need for therapies that would target the underlying causative immune pathways...

Dysregulation of the immune system is the underlying cause of potentially fatal conditions such as sepsis and severe allergic reactions. Adequate therapies are currently absent or lacking. There is therefore an unmet medical need for therapies that would target the underlying causative immune pathways.
Anti-microbial peptides (AMPs) possess promising anti-inflammatory activities, however, are commonly toxic.
In a series of newly synthesized peptides, the outlined invention provides a method to modify naturally occurring AMPs to possess both potent therapeutic anti-inflammatory activity and minimal toxicity in-vitro and in-vivo.
The resulting series of peptides were shown to remarkably inhibit severe allergic reaction as well.

Applications


  • Novel Therapy for sepsis and severe allergic reactions

Advantages


  • Very potent anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic agents
  • Non-toxic
  • Targeted against the underlying cause of both indications, which is an improper and uncontrolled immune response
  • Diversity – elucidating the parameters that control efficiency and toxicity allows to modify the basic formula to optimally fit different systems

Technology's Essence


With natural AMPs properties in mind, Prof. Shai and his team characterized the key modifications that underline anti-inflammatory activity and toxicity. A series of peptides with variable degrees of hydrophobicity, length, charge, position of charge and amino acid chirality were tested for their LPS neutralizing activity.
It was found that ~20mer peptides under the formula Kn(AL)mKn (wherein n et each occurrence is independently 0-2, and m is 6-9) demonstrate anti-inflammatory activities at nanomolar concentrations as evident by inhibition of TNF? secretion from macrophages, following  LPS induction. Furthermore, a single dose of an exemplary peptide was able to inhibit septic shock in mice induced by purified LPS or by whole heat-killed E.coli.
In contrast to previous attempts, which focused on increasing hydrophobicity, the core of the present invention is the designation of an optimal hydrophobicity that is necessary for high activity and low toxicity. Additional important features for LPS neutralizing were found to be ?-helical structure and strong oligomerization ability.
Surprisingly, the present peptides were shown to contain highly potent anti-allergenic activity as well. In-vitro inhibition of Fc?RI-mediated degranulation was recapitulated in-vivo  

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  • Prof. Yechiel Shai
1673
CF is the most common autosomal recessive disorder in western countries, affecting approximately 30,000 people in the US alone. A major risk in CF arises from chronic bacterial lung infections, affecting 80% of CF patients by the age of 25. Bacterial lung infections are also of major clinical...

CF is the most common autosomal recessive disorder in western countries, affecting approximately 30,000 people in the US alone. A major risk in CF arises from chronic bacterial lung infections, affecting 80% of CF patients by the age of 25. Bacterial lung infections are also of major clinical importance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), trauma, burn wounds, sepsis, or in patients requiring ventilation. The infections are currently treated with antibiotics, which rapidly become inefficient as resistant bacteria strains arise. The present technology suggests a novel therapeutic approach for the prevention and treatment of bacterial lung infection in susceptible populations, especially CF patients

Applications


  • Alternative treatment for bacterial lung infections.
  • A prophylaxis for patients susceptible to bacterial lung infections

Advantages


  • A novel therapeutic approach to prevent or cure bacterial lung infection.
  • The new therapy is based on reinforcement of the physiological innate immunity rather than on antibiotics.
  • The new therapy can be easily administered, via inhalation.
  • FTY720, a SPH analog, is already in clinical use for treating multiple sclerosis.

Technology's Essence


Sphingosine (SPH), a natural bactericidal agent which acts as a part of the human innate immune system in the skin, was found to be an effective treatment and prophylaxis for bacterial lung infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) mice. The new technology is based on the discovery that both CF human patients and CF mice display reduced rates of SPH in the airways. Moreover, normalizing SPH levels by inhalation prevents or cures the infections in CF mice, thus rendering SPH and its analogs a potent therapeutic agent for CF patients, an alternative to antibiotics.

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  • Prof. Anthony H. Futerman
1733
The spatial distribution of proteins inside the cell is under tight regulation. This regulation is necessary to ensure proper functioning of the cell, and is of particular importance when extracellular stimulation is applied. Upon stimulation, many signaling proteins rapidly and dynamically change...

The spatial distribution of proteins inside the cell is under tight regulation. This regulation is necessary to ensure proper functioning of the cell, and is of particular importance when extracellular stimulation is applied. Upon stimulation, many signaling proteins rapidly and dynamically change their location. Today, there is a widely recognized need to identify novel sequences which regulates nuclear translocation.
Recently, Prof. Zeger and his team discovered a new level of regulation to stimulated transcription. They showed that ?-like importunes are central mediators of nuclear translocation of signaling proteins. Furthermore they identified the site of interaction and designed accordingly a peptide which was found to prevent nuclear translocation.
This technology presents peptides with the potential of treating inflammatory and immune disease by regulating (prevent or promote) the translocation of proteins into the nucleus.

Applications


  • Inflammation
  • Immune diseases

Advantages


  • Effective
  • Safe

Technology's Essence


The researchers found that ?-like importins play a key role in JNK and p38 translocation. They also found that the translocation of these MAPKs is mediated by the formation of either Imp3/Imp7/MAPK or Imp3/Imp9MAPK heterodimers. Most importantly, the researchers identified the site in p38 that mediate the interaction with Imp7 and Imp9 and showed that the important sequence lies within residues 20-30 of p38?. Subsequently they synthesized a 14 amino acid myristoylated peptide based on the sequence of residues 21-34 of p38?. When it was applied to HeLa cells prior to stimulation, it prevented the nuclear translocation and Imp7/9 interaction of the MAPKs. Since the peptides of this technology are able to specifically inhibit the nuclear activities of p38 (such as inflammatory activities) without modulating their cytoplasmic activities, these peptides may serve as a therapeutic agent for inflammatory and apoptosis related diseases without having side effect.

 

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  • Prof. Rony Seger
1686

Applications


  • Co-treatment with chemotherapy
  • Co-treatment with statin treatmen

Advantages


  • Lower collateral toxicities allow for greater flexibility in treatment dosage.
  • Enhanced patient survival rate.
  • More favorably considered as a line of therapy due to decreased side effects.
  • Utilization of well-characterized compounds alleviates safety and toxicity considerations.

Technology's Essence


ER stress, elicited by chemotherapeutic agents such as doxorubicin, 5FU, vincristine and bortezomib, or statins such simvastatin, triggers cell death at least in part through generation of leukotriene C4 (LTC4), which induces ROS accumulation, DNA damage and subsequent cell death. LTC4 can be produced by two parallel pathways. Cells of hematopoietic origin express C4 synthase (LTC4S) and secrete their LTC4 load, thereby affecting nearby tissues. In contrast, as discloses by the present invention, non-hematopoietic cells generate LTC4 by the enzyme MGST2 (an isoenzyme of LTC4S), and retain it to act internally leading to their demise. This difference is the basis for the present invention. Thus, LTC4 receptor antagonists (montelukast, pranlukast, etc.) will alleviate the toxicity of chemotherapy towards non-hematopoietic tissues and cells, but retaining the therapeutic effectiveness of chemotherapy on lymphocytic leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma patients. In conjuction, it was found that pranlukast attenuated cell death triggered by a broad range (0.5-4 µg/ml) of simvastatin (a statin) concentrations.

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  • Prof. Menachem Rubinstein
1750
Organophosphates are toxic compounds found in chemical warfare agents, such as nerve gases, and insect pesticides.Use of volatile nerve gas agents by terrorist organizations is a key concern of governments around the world. V-type nerve agents (e.g. VX, RVX, and CVX) are particularly toxic nerve gases...

Organophosphates are toxic compounds found in chemical warfare agents, such as nerve gases, and insect pesticides.
Use of volatile nerve gas agents by terrorist organizations is a key concern of governments around the world. V-type nerve agents (e.g. VX, RVX, and CVX) are particularly toxic nerve gases, with an exceptionally high potency. Although not as lethal as nerve agents, organophosphate insecticides can be harmful in large or prolonged doses. The standard therapy has limited efficacy, carry risks of serious adverse effects and have relatively short shelf life in field conditions.
Bioscavengers represent a preferred to rapidly detoxify organophosphates in the blood, before they had the chance to reach its physiological targets and cause damage, but usually require the use of very high doses.
The present invention provides genetically modified phosphotriesterase (PTE) variants, which serve as catalytic bioscavengers for V-type nerve agents, with exceptional detoxification activity at low doses, and improved stability.

Applications


  • Prophylactic or post exposure treatment for nerve gases attack, in particular V-type agents
  • Treatment for pesticides poisoning

Advantages


  • High catalytic activity – allow high efficacy at low doses
  • Reduced effective doses allows to reduce adverse effects
  • High stability increasing shelf life
  • Compatible with both prophylaxis and post exposure
  • Compatible for both surface decontamination and administration to patients

Technology's Essence


Researchers at Prof. Tawfik lab use directed evolution to drive protein mutagenesis towards desired traits. Appling this approach, using the actual threat agents, the present inventors generated recombinant phosphotriesterase (PTE) variants with improved catalytic efficiencies towards V-type nerve agent hydrolysis. Serving as catalytic bioscavengers, these recombinant PTE variants hydrolyze organophosphates without being consumed and thus can be applied at low doses (catalytic efficiency (kcat/KM) greater than 3.106 M-1min-1).
Importantly, PTE is efficient both as a prophylactic agent that may be given several hours prior to exposure as a preventive measure, and as post exposure antidote, even days after in a single or multiple-doses.
It is compatible with both decontamination of surfaces and detoxification administrated to a patient by standard routes such as orally or injectables.
Finally, some PTE variants show superior stability properties, retaining at least 50% of their catalytic activity at 50?C, indicating extended shelf life. This may be especially critical in field conditions, where the risk for nerve agent exposure is high.

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  • Prof. Dan S. Tawfik
1695
A Novel Therapeutic Strategy for Mutant p53-Bearing Cancers. Cancer is the leading cause of death globally; according to the WHO, around 7 million people die from cancer every year and it is estimated that there will be more than 16 million new cancer cases every year by 2020. Traditional cancer...

A Novel Therapeutic Strategy for Mutant p53-Bearing Cancers.

Cancer is the leading cause of death globally; according to the WHO, around 7 million people die from cancer every year and it is estimated that there will be more than 16 million new cancer cases every year by 2020. Traditional cancer treatments have largely focused on unselective ablation of dividing cells, cancer or otherwise, which often leads to significant toxic side effects in patients. Targeted cancer therapies on the other hand, attempt to inhibit one or more abnormal proteins that are found in proliferating cancer cells.

A prominent example for such abnormal cancer protein is p53, which normally plays a cardinal cancer-protective role by regulating key biological processes. When mutated, the aberrant form of p53 instigates a cascade of events that may eventually lead to the emergence of cancer. Indeed, loss of p53 activity is considered one of the hallmark features of practically all human cancers. However, no treatment has been proposed to date that can specifically and effectively target the mutant forms of p53.

The current technology provides a simple and efficient first-in-class therapy to combat cancers that exhibit p53 mutations, by administering low doses of type I Interferon (IFN). The technology further provides means to stratify patients that are amenable for such treatment according to their tumor’s p53 mutation status. Finally, a prophylactic method to chronically treat susceptible patient populations, such as subjects carrying p53 germline mutations, is presented.

Applications


  • Treatment of cancer patients with IFNb as a sole active component, or as a sensitizing agent in combination with other anti-cancer    agents such as chemotherapeutics.
  • Treatment with IFNb as a prophylactic agent for preventing emergence of cancer in subjects afflicted with a disorder associated with a p53 mutation, such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
  • Treatment with IFNb for the prevention of cancer spreading or metastasis.
  • Detection of patients amenable for IFNb treatment by screening for p53 mutations.
  • Stratifying patients according to their mutant p53 type might also prove beneficial in improving IFNa performance.

Advantages


  • Low dose administration of IFNb to target mutant p53-bearing cancers should be well-tolerated and minimize the severe side effects usually associated with IFN treatment.
  • The technology enables the stratification of cancer patients according to p53 mutation state. This should lead to improved IFN therapy, providing both enhanced efficacy and improved safety.
  • Since IFNb specifically reduces the levels of mutant p53 mRNA, determining whether a subject expresses mutant p53 can be achieved by a simple qPCR measurement of mutant p53 mRNA levels.
  • The technology offers a first-in-class prophylactic treatment option for LFS patients.

Technology's Essence


Cancer Associated Fibroblasts (CAFs) are sub-population of stromal cells residing adjacent to the tumor, that mediate the cancer promoting effect of the stroma. The current technology is based on the discovery finding that upon encounter with cancerous cells, CAFs activate the IFNb pathway. This IFN response was less pronounced when mutant p53 was present in the cancer cells. Unexpectedly though, exogenous application of type I IFNs was able to overcome the suppressive activity of mutant p53 and reduce its RNA and protein levels. Additionally, administering IFNb to mutant p53-bearing cancer cells exerted an inhibitory effect on their migratory capacity, which corresponds to metastatic ability. Thus, type I IFNs exert a destabilizing effect that is specific to oncogenic mutant p53, while the levels of wildtype p53 tumor suppressor remain intact.
IFNb can be used to treat patients carrying p53 mutations, thereby increasing their survival and improving their prognosis. Under this scenario, patient screening for the expression of a mutated form of p53 may serve as a diagnostic tool for successful type I IFN treatment. The invention also suggests that a chronic, low-dose therapeutic type I IFN regimen should minimize adverse effects associated with conventional IFN treatment. It also facilitates the use of IFN to prevent tumor formation in susceptible cancer patient populations that carry p53 germline mutations.

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  • Prof. Varda Rotter
1665
Improved magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for cardiac fibrosis and other fibrotic diseases.Myocardial fibrosis is associated with worsening ventricular systolic function, abnormal cardiac remodeling, and increased ventricular stiffness, significantly increasing the risk of adverse cardiac outcomes....

Improved magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for cardiac fibrosis and other fibrotic diseases.
Myocardial fibrosis is associated with worsening ventricular systolic function, abnormal cardiac remodeling, and increased ventricular stiffness, significantly increasing the risk of adverse cardiac outcomes. Hypertension and diabetes elicit fibrotic processes in the heart, placing a high percentage of the western world population at risk, yet the early identification of fibrotic development in high-risk patients is hindered by lack of adequate fibrosis imaging modalities. This in turn leads to increased morbidity and additional financial burden to health care services. The current standard method to assess myocardial fibrosis employs the usage of MRI coupled with intravenous infusion of Gadolinium contrast agent. However, this method suffers from considerable drawbacks including reduced sensitivity (that permits diagnosis only at advanced stages of disease), lengthy scan times and toxicity of the contrast agent, which excludes a significant subset of patient populations from diagnosis. Thus, the capacity to diagnose myocardial fibrosis in its early stages would allow successful therapeutic intervention, and may also create a platform for the non-invasive study of fibrotic development, thereby facilitating the design of targeted therapies. The current invention is comprised of a novel cardiovascular magnetic resonance method with enhanced sensitivity, without the need for contrast agent administration.

Applications


  • Detection of cardiac fibrosis due to various pathologies, including hypertension, diabetes and heart failure.
  • The method can be applied to detect fibrotic tissues in a broad range of disorders including cancer, renal fibrosis and pathologies related to skeletal muscles.
  • A platform for the clinical study of targeted therapies that may prevent or arrest fibrotic diseases.
  • Monitoring the efficacy of treatment tailored to target fibrotic tissue development.

 


Advantages


  • The method relies on magnetization transfer to provide contrast, and therefore obviates the need for any extrinsic, toxic contrast agent such as Gadolinium.
  • Improved sensitivity over current contrast agent-based cardiac MRI methods.
  • The method can be readily applied to existing MRI clinical imaging systems.

Technology's Essence


A team of researchers at the Weizmann Institute has developed a novel approach for detection of myocardial fibrosis using magnetization transfer contrast (MCT) MRI cardiac imaging technology. The method was tested in vivo on animal models of heart failure and proved highly sensitive for detection of scar tissue formation and monitoring of fibrotic development. One prominent advantage of the present technology over current cardiac imaging modalities is that it eliminates the requirement for extrinsic contrast agents, thereby circumventing potential adverse toxic side effects.

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  • Prof. Michal Neeman
1772
MTCH2 as a novel target for the treatment of obesity.Obesity is an escalating public health problem with an increasing prevalence worldwide, and a primary contingency of many life-threatening diseases, as well as early mortality. In the U.S. alone, more than one-third of adults are obese. Obesity-...

MTCH2 as a novel target for the treatment of obesity.
Obesity is an escalating public health problem with an increasing prevalence worldwide, and a primary contingency of many life-threatening diseases, as well as early mortality. In the U.S. alone, more than one-third of adults are obese. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. Physicians and patients alike consider the weight-loss efficacy of the current therapeutics to be unsatisfactory. Therefore, there is an unmet need for innovative options that are at once safe and efficacious, and allow the patient to maintain weight loss.
The present invention describes the identification of Mitochondrial Carrier Homolog 2 (MTCH2) as a novel player in muscle metabolism and the therapeutic potential of inhibiting MTCH2 for the treatment of diet-induced obesity and diabetes.

Advantages


  • A fresh approach for targeting weight-related disorders
  • Direct effect on metabolism instead of indirect mechanisms of current therapeutics which target appetite modulation.
  • Protection from diet-induced obesity can be used as a prevention treatment for people with a tendency for weight gain.  

Technology's Essence


MTCH2 functions as a receptor-like protein for the pro-apoptotic BID protein in the mitochondria.
MTCH2 was identified as one of six new gene loci associated with Body Mass Index (BMI) and obesity in humans suggesting that MTCH2 may also play a role in metabolism.
MTCH2 was recently shown by the Gross’s lab to also function as a repressor of   mitochondria oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) in the hematopoietic system.
Deletion of MTCH2 in skeletal muscle increases mitochondrial OXPHOS and mass, and increases capacity for endurance exercise. In addition, loss of MTCH2 increases mitochondria and glycolytic flux in muscles as measured by monitoring pyruvate and lactate levels.
MTCH2 knockout mice are protected from diet-induced obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and are more prone to weight loss upon caloric restriction.
Therefore, the association of MTCH2 with mitochondrial function offers a potential novel target for muscle metabolism modulation in the fight against metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes.

 

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1704
Neuropathic Gaucher’s (nGD), is a rare but very severe manifestation of the disease, with a varying degree of involvement of the central nervous system, in addition to systemic symptoms. As of today, there is no cure for these severe conditions. The search for such cure is tremendously hindered by the...

Neuropathic Gaucher’s (nGD), is a rare but very severe manifestation of the disease, with a varying degree of involvement of the central nervous system, in addition to systemic symptoms. As of today, there is no cure for these severe conditions.
The search for such cure is tremendously hindered by the unmet need for a reliable biochemical biomarker for nGD.
The present invention identifies the glycoprotein non-metastatic B (GPNMB) as a potential powerful nGD biomarker for use in early diagnosis, determination of disease severity, as well as a straight forward readout in clinical and preclinical experiments.

Applications


Diagnosis and drug development for neuropathic GD

Advantages


Straight forward diagnostic tool – based on standard biochemical assays
Relatively simple clinical procedure – samples are collected from CSF and not brain
High sensitivity – for the diagnosis of disease severity
Compatible with preclinical experiments

Technology's Essence


Prof. Futerman and his team preformed a quantitative global proteomic analysis (using LC-MS/MS) of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from four patients with Type 3 GD, to identify mis-regulated proteins, compared with healthy subject.
Glycoprotein non-metastatic B (GPNMB), a protein that was previously associated with several lysosomal storage disorders, exhibited very high levels (a 42-fold increase) in the CSF of type 3 GD patients.  Two peptides were identified from GPNMB, both located in the non-cytosolic domain, suggesting that GPNMB is cleaved and secreted into the CSF from the brain. LC-MS/MS results were validated by ELISA and by western blot analysis in CSF and in human brain samples.
Several proof of principle experiments were conducted in order to prove the validity of using GPNMB as a biomarker for monitoring disease state and treatments efficacy in neuropathic GD in patients and mouse models:
GPNMB levels were shown to be correlated with the severity of type 3 Gaucher’s disease patients, as measured by lower IQ score and lower score in Purdue Pegboard test, assessing eye-hand coordination. In addition, using conduritol b epoxide (CBE)-injection based mouse model that simulate different severities and recovery periods, it was shown that GPNMB levels rapidly rise or decline to reliably reflect progress/remission states of the diseases.

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  • Prof. Anthony H. Futerman
1671
A novel method to revert human iPSC to a fully naive state, retaining stable pluripotency. The feasibility for the existence of ground state naive pluripotency in human embryonic stem cells (hESC) has long been researched. This innovative technology supplies the composition of chemically defined...

A novel method to revert human iPSC to a fully naive state, retaining stable pluripotency. The feasibility for the existence of ground state naive pluripotency in human embryonic stem cells (hESC) has long been researched. This innovative technology supplies the composition of chemically defined conditions required for derivation and long term maintenance of such cells, without genetic modification.
Human naive pluripotent cells can be robustly derived either from already established conventional hESC lines, through iPSC reprogramming of somatic cells, or directly from ICM of human blastocysts. The new human pluripotent state was isolated and characterized; it can open up new avenues for patient specific disease relevant research and the study of early human development.

Applications


  • Reprogramming kits - Somatic cells to iPSC at near 100% efficiency (7days), iPSC to fully naive state.

Advantages


  • Deterministic iPSC reprogramming with no genetic modification required.
  • Stable pluripotency, with low propensity for differentiation
  • Reagents available off-the-shelf.

Technology's Essence


Hallmark features of rodent naive pluripotency include driving Oct4expression by its distal enhancer, retaining a pre-inactivation state of X chromosome in female pluripotent cell lines amongst others. Naive mouse ESCs epigenetically drift towards a primed pluripotent state; while human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) share several molecular features with naive mESCs (e.g. expression of NANOG, PRDM14 and KLF4 naive pluripotency promoting factors), they also share a variety of epigenetic properties with primed murine Epiblast stem cells (mEpiSCs). These observations have raised the question of whether conventioal human ESCs and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can be epigenetically reprogrammed into a different pluripotent state, extensively similar with rodent na?ve pluripotency. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute discovered that supplementation of certain chemically defined conditions, synergistically facilitates the isolation and maintenance of pluripotent stem cells that retain growth characteristics, molecular circuits, a chromatin landscape, and signaling pathway dependence that are highly similar to naive mESCs, and drastically distinct from conventional hESCs.

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  • Dr. Jacob (Yaqub) Hanna

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