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Scientist
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
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
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
1679
A novel therapy for Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) using mAbs combinationBreast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) representing about 15% of all breast cancer cases, is the deadliest form of all breast cancer subtypes, and tends to affect...

A novel therapy for Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) using mAbs combination
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) representing about 15% of all breast cancer cases, is the deadliest form of all breast cancer subtypes, and tends to affect women at a younger age. Unfortunately TNBC cannot be treated with the common receptor targeted therapies since it does not express these targets, the estrogen, progesterone and Her2/neu receptors. Therefor systemic treatment options are currently limited to cytotoxic chemotherapy. The lack of effective targeted therapies, resistance to chemotherapy, and early metastatic spread have contributed to the poor prognoses and outcomes associated with TNBC.
The current technology offers a novel therapeutic strategy for TNBC. The application of two novel, noncompetitive antibodies against EGFR, achieves a robust degradation EGFR resulting in tumor inhibition.

Applications


  • Novel and unique antibody targeted therapy for TNBC.
  • The novel anti EGFR antibodies can cooperate synergistically with the currently marketed EGFR antibodies.

Advantages


  • A promising therapeutic scenario to treat TNBC.
  • Enhanced EGFR degradation and improved anti-tumor activity, in contrast to clinically approved anti-EGFR mAbs, which display no cooperative effects.
  • Lysosomal EGFR degradation pathway induced by epitope-distinct antibody mixture may potentially lead to improved therapeutic outcome, and reduced resistance.

Technology's Essence


Prof. Yosef Yarden and his team demonstrated that a combination of novel antibodies that target distinct regions on the human EGF receptor resulted in its robust and synergistic down-regulation, leading to pronounced tumor growth inhibition. Furthermore, the combined mAbs induced lysosomal degradation of EGFR, while avoiding the recycling route. Such irreversible mode of EGFR degradation may potentially increase response rate or delay the onset of patient resistance.
Conversely, combining cetuximab and panitumumab, the mAbs routinely used to treat colorectal cancer patients, did not improve receptor degradation because they are both attracted to the same epitope on EGFR.

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

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

Applications


  • Prolonging half life of short-lined drugs

Advantages


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

Technology's Essence


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

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

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

Applications


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

Advantages


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

Technology's Essence


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

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  • Prof. Rotem Sorek
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
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
1664
Neuroinflammation is well established as a key secondary injury mechanism following CNS trauma, such as traumatic brain/spinal injury or ischemic stroke, and it has been long considered to contribute to the damage sustained and fatal outcomes following brain injury. Early inflammatory events enhance...

Neuroinflammation is well established as a key secondary injury mechanism following CNS trauma, such as traumatic brain/spinal injury or ischemic stroke, and it has been long considered to contribute to the damage sustained and fatal outcomes following brain injury.
Early inflammatory events enhance brain damage, yet they provide the framework for later inflammatory events that enhance tissue remodeling and are crucial for tissue recovery.
A major unmet need in the field is a targeted treatment that would down regulate the damaging events of inflammation, while maintaining reparative functions. 
Altering between CNS microglia pro and anti-inflammatory activation states is at the core of injury-induced neuroinflammation and presents an opportunity to specifically tilt the balance towards anti-inflammatory and repair processes.
The present discovery elucidates the mechanisms that lead to injury-induced microglia over-activation and proposes IFN-? as a therapeutic strategy to induce microglia resolving state and relive inflammation. 

Applications


Anti-inflammatory treatment following CNS injury

Advantages


  • Targeted therapy – avoids general immuno-suppressive side effects
  • Based on a well understood molecular mechanism
  • May allow relatively large therapeutic window – according to proof-of-concept  preliminary experiments

Technology's Essence


Resident microglia are the major specialized innate immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS). During the process of wound healing or pathogen removal, there is an induction of the microglia active pro-inflammatiry phenotype (M1), leading to a transient inflammatory response, which is resolved via local conversion to the M2 anti-inflammatory phenotype.  Following acute injury, microglia fail to acquire an inflammation-resolving phenotype (M2-like phenotype) in a timely manner, often resulting in self-perpetuating local inflammation and tissue destruction beyond the primary insult.
Prof. Schwartz and her team uncovered the mechanisms that lead to injury-based inhibition of the M1 to M2 phenotype switch.  They showed that the capacity to undergo pro- to anti-inflammatory (M1-to-M2) phenotype switch is controlled by the transcription factor Interferon regulatory factor-7 (IRF7).  Their results demonstrate that restoring Irf7 expression by IFN-? (a known IRF7 activator) reactivates the circuits leading to M2 conversion by improving the resolution of pro?inflammatory cytokines expressed by microglia ex vivo and in vivo, following acute CNS insult.
Importantly, the anti-inflammatory activity of IFN-? was demonstrated in-vivo, when administrated 24h following the primary insult, proposing a relatively large therapeutic window.

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  • Prof. Michal Eisenbach-Schwartz

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