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Scientist
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
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
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
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
1662
Immunotherapy, that is the use of the immune system to treat cancer, is currently a leading candidate in the combat against cancer. Unlike the toxic effects of both chemotherapy and radiation, immunotherapy is considered to have mild side effects due to its ability to differentiate between healthy and...

Immunotherapy, that is the use of the immune system to treat cancer, is currently a leading candidate in the combat against cancer. Unlike the toxic effects of both chemotherapy and radiation, immunotherapy is considered to have mild side effects due to its ability to differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells. Also, the therapeutic role of the immune system is an essential element in the healing process due to bone marrow transplantation for hematologic malignancies.
However, a more efficacious and less toxic T cells based treatment is required. Effective therapy depends on the functional avidity between T cell receptors (TCRs) and peptide-MHC complex (pMHC). However the natural affinity of TCR is low and they do not naturally undergo the processes that improve antibody affinity, such as somatic hypermutation (SHM). Currently there is no method of increasing the affinity of a TCR to its ligand. Moreover there is no knowledge on how use affinity maturated TCRs for creating anti-tumor reactive cells
This technology presents a method of increasing the affinity of a TCR to its ligand. This is done by subjecting TCR genes to SHM via the enzyme Activation Induced cytidine Deaminase (AID). The technology further provides affinity maturated TCRs (in cell- bound or in soluble form) and their pharmaceutical potential for immunotherapy. 

Applications


  • Generating anti-tumor T cells
  • Generating T cells reactive against selected antigen

Advantages


  • Rapid
  • Effective

Technology's Essence


This novel technology reveals that the affinity of a TCR to its ligand may be increased remarkably by subjecting TCR genes to SHM, directed by AID.
First a nucleic acid construct encoding a TCR gene is expressed in a host cell. Next SHM is used to introduce mutations to the TCR gene. Last, the the cells will be analyzed for affinity maturation by tetramer staining and subsequently sorted by FACS.
There are three parallel approaches to perform affinity maturation for the TCR: (1) Ex-vivo affinity maturation system, using Tet-regulated expression of AID (2) Ex-vivo affinity maturation system, using controlled expression of AID by mRNA electrophoresis (3) In-vitro affinity maturation system, using extracts from cells that are in SHM and recombinant AID.

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  • Prof. Rachel Lea Eisenbach
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
1407
Thermotolerant photosynthetic organisms endure worsening climate conditions such as increased temperatures and higher levels of CO2. These novel organisms maintain photosynthetic activity and growth under a wide temperature range (15-45oC) as opposed to their wild-type counterparts. Thermotolerant...

Thermotolerant photosynthetic organisms endure worsening climate conditions such as increased temperatures and higher levels of CO2. These novel organisms maintain photosynthetic activity and growth under a wide temperature range (15-45oC) as opposed to their wild-type counterparts.

Thermotolerant organisms also exhibit higher transparency to light. Photosynthetic efficiency is maintained even though they produce and utilize less chlorophyll molecules; therefore less surface area is required for optimal cultivation. Furthermore, increased CO2 concentrations are preferable for thermotolerant organisms’ efficient photosynthesis.

The innovative solution discovered at The Weizmann Institute, involves replacement of 1-2 amino acid residues in a protein motif within the D1 protein subunit of Photosystem II (the protein complex responsible for the conversion of solar energy to a useful form of energy by photosynthesis). Such a solution has the potential to provide platforms for food production and sustainable energy in regions with harsh climate conditions that until today, were deemed unfit for cultivation.

Applications


  • Bacterial platform to produce biomass or materials (e.g. nutraceuticals) in higher temperatures and higher CO2.
  • Food and biofuel production: adaptation of crops to harsh climates.

Advantages


  • Enhanced Thermal stability and plasticity of the modified organisms to a much broader range than observed for the native organisms.
  • Greater Light penetration (e.g. in ponds) without losing photosynthetic efficiency - thermotolerant organisms maintain efficient activity with less chlorophylls thus allowing greater transmission of light to deeper spaces.
  • Thermotolerant organisms withstand high CO2 concentrations.

Technology's Essence


Professor Avigdor Scherz and his team focused on the sequences of the two major protein subunits D1 and D2 found in all purple bacteria PSII reaction centers. Two sites, D1-209 and D1-212, were found to show consistent changes between mesophilic, thermotolerant and thermophilic organisms including cyanobacteria, algae and green plants.

The sites are positioned in a GXXXG-like structural motif (where G denotes small residues such as Gly, Ala, Ser, Cys and Thr) typical of helix-helix interactions. The motif was found at the points of closest contact between the two major protein subunits, D1 and D2. It was shown that mutations in the amino acids within the identified GXXXG-like motif  result in modification of the local flexibility of the reaction center and, consequently, in the induction of thermophilic behavior.

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  • Prof. Avigdor Scherz
1451
A monoclonal antibody against GluR3B, a peptide found in epilepsy patients, and especially in patients suffering from intractable, resistant forms of the disease, could be used in diagnosis kits as well as in drug development for this form of "autoimmune epilepsy".

A monoclonal antibody against GluR3B, a peptide found in epilepsy patients, and especially in patients suffering from intractable, resistant forms of the disease, could be used in diagnosis kits as well as in drug development for this form of "autoimmune epilepsy".

Applications


1. Producing a new kit for epilepsy patients, able to detect GluR3b Ab's and thus GluR3-mediated neuropathology
The anti GluR3B monoclonal Ab could be used for developing a new diagnostic kit to detect neuropathogenic human anti-GluR3B in serum and CSF of patients with epilepsy. The patient's GluR3B Ab's would compete and displace the GluR3B mAb's of its ligand: the GluR3B peptide. The presence of GluR3B Ab's in a patient, would indicate that autoimmunity against GluR3 may underlie the patient's neuropathology and a) would suggest the initiation of an immune-based therapy b) prevent useless and dangerous brain surgery c) prevent non-effective medication.

2. Drug design for GluR3-mediated neuropathology
The unique GluR3B monoclonal antibody could be used to screen a potential drug for 'Autoimmune Epilepsy'. The GluR3B monoclonal antibody could be used to screen for a molecule (i.e. Anti-idiotypic antibodies) that would block the GluR3 autoantibodies and their detrimental neuropathological effects.

3. Research tool for a kaleidoscope of purposes, including:

  • Detection of the GluR3 glutamate receptor subtype on various target cells.
  • Studies of the properties of the Glutamate/AMPA receptor subtype 3.
  • Studies of the Glutamate-liked agonist activity of the GluR3B monoclonal antibody, and of the GluR3 receptor ion channel gating properties.
  • Production of an animal model of 'Autoimmune Epilepsy'.
  • Studies of neuronal death caused by binding of the GluR3 autoantibody to glutamate/AMPA receptors.
  • Studies of behavioral impairments caused by binding of the GluR3 autoantibody to glutamate/AMPA receptors.

  • Technology's Essence


    Scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science have discovered a unique anti-GluR3B monoclonal antibody Glu149/29/61.

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    • Prof. Vivian I. Teichberg
    • Prof. Vivian I. Teichberg

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