NEW YORK… May 11, 2018 – BGN Technologies, the technology-transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), announced that a research group led by Prof. Varda Shoshan-Barmatz of the BGU Department of Life Sciences and the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, is developing a new molecule to treat cancer that inhibits cancer cell growth and changes these cells back to normal ones.
“Although this is in the early stages, we are excited with results that demonstrate this novel molecule’s potential for cancer treatment,” says Prof. Shoshan-Barmatz. “Basically, we’ve discovered a code for reprograming cancer cells that causes them to lose their oncogenic features.”
The novel treatment is based on siRNA (small interfering ribonucleic acid), which silences expression of the mitochondrial gatekeeper protein, VDAC1. This protein is highly overexpressed in many solid and non-solid tumors and is crucial for supplying the high energy demands of malignant cells.
By silencing VDAC1, the researchers were able to inhibit cancerous cell growth. This offers potentially wide applicability, since treating the cells in a culture with the siRNA resulted in significant inhibition of cancerous cell growth without affecting noncancerous cells — an indication of a potentially safe treatment.
Prof. Shoshan-Barmatz has
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