These wild rodents, no friend to farmers, are extremely resistant to cancer and live 10 times as long as mice, Prof. Aaron Avivi at Haifa University said.
“We claim that defense mechanisms developed along tens of millions of years of evolution must necessarily be a better key to solving cancer — and not the cancer-prone, short-lived inbred rat and mouse that are already laboratory products,” Avivi told ISRAEL21c.
“We truly believe that we have found the potential ‘missing good organism’ that the community of cancer researchers is seeking to progress in our effort to solve cancer in humans.”
ISRAEL21c writes: “Avivi and his colleagues suspect the creatures’ cancer resistance is tied to their ability to survive abrupt and sharp changes in oxygen supply. Hypoxia, a condition caused by a lack of oxygen, leads to human heart and lung diseases, brain strokes and cancer.”
Says Avivi, “The fact that it is tolerant to hypoxia is related to the fact that it is free of ailments as it ages, and we deduce that this is the reason why it survives over 20 years, while rats of the same size and weight survive only four years.”
An article in BMC Biology written by Avivi and his colleagues proved for the first time that it is nearly impossible to induce cancer in the blind mole rat through treatment with carcinogens that cause tumors in mice and rats.
But the coup is that normal cells propagated from the blind mole rat “fight off cancer cells from different tissues and different species, including human. The same cells from control groups of lab mice, rats and wild spiny mice lack this remarkable ability.”
“Our effort now is to try and identify, isolate and purify the substance/s that only the blind mole-rat secretes, and to discover with what component/s it interacts that is active only on cancer cells,” Avivi told ISRAEL21c. “This might lead to a medicine for humans suffering from cancer.”
Caffeine makes the genetic material in the cells grow older, researchers from Tel Aviv University have discovered.
For years we thought coffee was bad for our health. Then, new studies found that a few cups of coffee a day can actually be pretty healthy. Now, Israeli researchers have discovered that caffeine and alcohol affect the cells’ ageing, the genome’s stability, and even the chance of getting cancer.
The study was conducted by Prof. Prof. Martin Kupiec, Dr. Gal Hagit Romano, Yaniv Harari, Dr. Assaf Gottlieb and other researchers, and was published recently in the PLoS Genetics journal.
The researchers based their study on the finding that stress shortens telomeres – the ends of the chromosomes, which protect the genetic material in each cell. The telomeres serve as the cell’s “biological clock” and become shorter as the cell grows older.
“We found out that substances we are exposed to in our daily life – especially caffeine and alcohol – affected the length of the telomeres,” explained Dr. Gal Hagit Romano.
“We found that a low concentration of caffeine (for example like in a regular shot of espresso) significantly shortened the telomeres. A low concentration of alcohol (5% and 7%), however, elongated them significantly,” she added.
Cancer cells actively lengthen the cell’s telomeres, so that they can continue dividing forever.
Genetic sequencing is no longer for the uber-wealthy and uber-patient: If a decade ago it cost $3 billion and took 8 years to sequence the human genome, that option is available to anyone today who has $3,500 to spend and is willing to wait the 24 hours it takes to do the job. Pretty soon, experts say, the cost for sequencing is going to come down to about $1,000.
So what can you do with your genomic DNA sequence? Soon you will be able to whip out your smartphone and analyze it, using an app developed by researchers at Tel Aviv University. Their app (and website) GeneG makes genetic analysis as simple as sending a text message or making a phone call.
“For the first time you can take your genome home and look at it whenever you want,” according to GeneG creator Noam Shomron. “We are giving you eyes to peer into your genetics.”
Shomron developed the GeneG app and website together with TAU graduate students Ofer Isakov and Gershon Celniker. The app and site will be opened to physicians later this month, ahead of a public release.
GeneG has the potential to make genetic testing as routine as a blood pressure test.
Full story via Times of Israel
Regina Golan-Gerstl’s discovery could help create new diagnosis and treatment options for more than 20,000 Americans diagnosed with brain cancer each year. The Israel Cancer Research Fund supported the research, which detected higher than normal levels in some protein genes within glioblastoma samples.
In a laboratory study, researchers injected mice with gliobastoma cells, causing the mice to develop large tumors. But when the researchers reduced the levels of the protein gene, hnRNP A2/B1, the mice developed small tumors or no tumors.
“These results suggest that hnRNP A2/B1 is… a gene that… probably directly contributes to glioblastoma development,” said Dr. Rotem Karni, whose laboratory was used in the discovery, according to Israel National News.
“Down-regulating hnRNP A2/B1 levels in glioblastoma cells should be considered as a new strategy for glioblastoma therapy,” Karni said.
Teva said the alliance would provide it with the opportunity to research and develop selected and differentiated novel treatments that modulate DNA damage and repair response (DDR) processes in cancerous cells. DDR plays a key role in protecting cancerous cells from the toxic effects of chemotherapy. The cells that are best able to repair the DNA damage caused by cancer treatments survive to replicate, naturally selecting the mutation with the best repair capability, leading to recurrence and resistance to treatment.
By developing DDR capabilities, the partnership has the potential to expand the clinical utility and therapeutic effectiveness of Teva’s current portfolio of oncology chemotherapeutic agents. The approach builds on Teva’s focus on personalized medicine throughout its R&D pipeline, and specifically within its oncology portfolio, the company said.
Cancer Research UK and CRT’s expertise in DDR-related basic, translational, and clinical research is leading the field, building the understanding to enable “smarter” use of this novel approach in developing new treatment options. It’s knowledge base is fed by researchers at leading UK universities and five cancer research institutes — Gray Institute, Oxford; Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute; London Research Institute; Paterson Institute, Manchester; and the Beatson Institute, Glasgow.
Dr. Michael Hayden, president of Teva Global R&D and Chief Scientific Officer, said, “For cancer patients, it is important that we maintain the momentum of progress that has been made in oncology in recent years. Cancer Research UK, CRT, and their outstanding academic partners, are a driving force in the improved understanding of cancer and its treatment. This research collaboration will build on our understanding of how cells repair DNA damage, help us identify possible points of therapeutic intervention, and lead us onto a pathway toward improve clinical outcomes for cancer patients.”
The multi-year agreement will work with molecular targets selected by CRT from Cancer Research UK’s portfolio of biological research in DDR. These targets will be validated to prove their therapeutic importance before progressing to the early stages of drug discovery in CRT’s Discovery Laboratories. CRT and Teva will then jointly undertake chemical lead generation activities. Under the terms of the agreement, CRT will receive research funding and be eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on projects advancing through Teva’s drug pipeline.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg, which ranks countries based on three criteria—life expectancy, health-care cost as a percentage of GDP per capita, and health-care cost per capita—Israel had an efficacy score of 68.7.
Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan took the top spots, ahead of Israel. Canada came in 17th, the United Arab Emirates was 12th, and the U.K., famous for its National Health Service, came in 14th.
Meanwhile, with the ongoing battle over President Barack Obama’s health care system and rising costs, the U.S. ranked 46th, behind countries like Algeria, Iran, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. According to Bloomberg, the U.S. spends the most on health care on a relative cost basis, with the worst outcome.
In other rankings by Bloomberg, Israel has the longest life span in the Middle East and Africa at 81.8 years, is the 6th-favorite location for high-tech companies, and the 10th-best country for workers.