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Researchers at Ben-Gurion U develop technology that turns cancer cells into healthy ones

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: May 16th, 2018

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) are developing a technology that halts cancer cell growth and changes the cells back to healthy ones.

The treatment is based on siRNA (small interfering ribonucleic acid), which inhibits the expression of the mitochondrial gatekeeper protein VDAC1. This protein is highly overexpressed in many tumors and is key to sustaining malignant cells. The BGU researchers were able to silence VDAC1 and inhibit cancer cell growth without affecting noncancerous cells.

In addition, the siRNA treatment induces metabolic rewiring of the cells, reversing their cancerous properties and turning them back into normal differentiated cells.

“Although this is in the early stages, we are excited with results that demonstrate this novel molecule’s potential for cancer treatment,” says Varda Soshan-Barmatz, BGU professor and head of the research team. “Using the siRNA treatment for several types of cancer in mouse models reprogrammed cancer cell metabolism, reduced tumor growth and angiogenesis, reduced tumor invasiveness and induced cancer stem cell disappearance and cell differentiation.”

Ora Horovitz, senior vice president of business development at the university’s tech transfer arm BGN Technologies, comments, “We have patented the technology and are now seeking partners to further develop and advance this promising treatment in a clinical setting in the hope that it will lead to a novel path for cancer treatment.”

Source: EurekAlert!

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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