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Hebrew University researchers share results of a new glioblastoma treatment with the potential to improve and extend patients’ lives

Israelis discover promising treatment for aggressive brain tumors


By —— Bio and Archives--November 28, 2018

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Hebrew University PhD student Maxim Mogilevsky and Prof. Rotem Karni in the Institute for Medical Research-Israel Canada lab. Photo by Polina Denichenko courtesy of Hebrew University
A new treatment for aggressive brain tumors (glioblastoma) shows great promise, according to a report by Israeli scientists that was published recently in the journal Nucleic Acids Research.

Glioblastoma is a serious and incurable brain cancer. Patients receiving this diagnosis typically have 11 to 20 months to live. One of the main difficulties in treating this cancer is that its cells quickly build up a resistance to chemotherapy.

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A team headed by Prof. Rotem Karni and PhD student Maxim Mogilevsky at Hebrew University’s Institute for Medical Research-Israel Canada (IMRIC) designed a molecule that inhibits glioblastoma tumor growth by regulating the proteins it produces.

Karni explained that the MKNK2 gene produces two different protein products through a process called “RNA alternative splicing.” These proteins have two opposing functions: MNK2a inhibits cancer growth, whereas MNK2b supports cancer growth.

Karni’s new molecule shifts the splicing of MKNK2 so that production of the tumor-stimulating protein decreases, while production of the tumor-suppressing protein increases. As a result, cancerous tumors decrease or die.

“Not only can this breakthrough molecule kill tumor cells on its own, it has the power to help former chemotherapy-resistant cells become chemotherapy-sensitive once again,” said Karni.—More…


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