The Dov Chronicles

Israel Scientists Closer To Cancer Cure

Researchers from Tel Aviv University believe they are closer to finding a treatment that can kill cancer cells.

While all the world’s ansemitic pundits and conspiracy junkies continue to scrape the bottom of the internet cesspool for any scrap of dirt – real or fabricated – against the Jewish state, Israeli scientists continue to make advances in medicine to help create a better world..

Cancer researchers are constantly on the hunt for treatments that can selectively kill cancer cells, leaving healthy cells unharmed. They’re now one step closer to that goal thanks to the work of Israeli scientists, who have successfully created the first computerized genome-scale model of cancer cell metabolism.

As the researchers described recently in Nature, the model provides a platform from which to tailor targeted drugs that could shut down only malignant cells. “It’s quite unique,” says Ruppin. “Our team is the first to build a full-blown model of this in the computer, and the first to utilize the concept of selective therapy in cancer cell metabolism.”

Three bioinformatics specialists in his lab at TAU worked on the model for nearly two years, painstakingly reconstructing the thousands of genes, reactions and metabolic processes in a kidney cancer cell. The model is generic, so it can also be used to find drugs for other kinds of cancer.

“There is a lot of work that needs to be done,” says Ruppin, who earned his MD (1987) and PhD in computer science (1993) from TAU, where he is currently a professor of medicine and computer science. “We have identified drug candidates, not drugs. It takes years, and a lot of money, to go from the basic science stage where we are to developing a drug that actually works. We will be taking current targets for kidney cancer and moving them closer to being a real clinical drug.” They’ll also be investigating possibilities for other cancers.

Several major pharmaceutical companies are in talks with the university’s technology transfer company, which is seeking investment support for the project.

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