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Prof. Uri Nir
By MYRON LOVE
Bar Ilan University Professor Uri Nir has some good news in terms of halting the spread of cancer.

The guest speaker at the Rady JCC’s first session of the 2018-19 “In The Know” lunch and lecture series at the Campus on Thursday, October 4, Nir, the Dean of the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at the Ramat Gan Campus, reported on a new compound that his research team has developed which holds the promise of being able to prevent and reverse metastasizing cancer.
Nir noted that cancerous tumors that are localized within specific organs can in many cases be successfully treated. “The major challenge now is treating metastasizing cancers (cancer that spreads beyond the initial location),” he noted.
The professor provided his audience with a crash course on genetics and the make-up of cells in our body. In order to travel within the body, metastasizing cancer cells need a source of energy for the arduous journey, he explained.
“Our research is focusing on how to deny the cells that energy,” he says. “We were searching for the power station in the mitochondria (which is found in every cell) which enables cancer cells to metastasize.”
What Nir and his research team were able to do was isolate one specific enzyme – FerT – as the enabler of metastasizing cancer cells. The only other place in the body where that enzyme is found, he told his audience, is in sperm – which also has to travel.
Nir and his team have subsequently developed a chemical compound which has been labeled E260 and which has successfullyu inhibited the functioning of the FerT enzyme with the resulting death of the cancer cells. Nir reported on clinical trials with mice in which the cancerous malignant tumors were cleared up completely.
He reported that he and his team are now working with an American pharmaceutical company on developing medication based on E260 with phase 1 clinical trials on cancer patients coming soon.
“This is a challenging project that requires a lot of money,” he said. “We also have to get FDA approval in the United States.
“We hope to soon have a new drug that will have a significant impact on the global war against cancer – the world’s number one cause of death.”
Nir’s presentation was co-sponsored by the Rady JCC Jewish Business Network and the Winnipeg Jewish Business Council.
 
While in Winnipeg, Nir also did a presentation for CancerCare students and oncologists, noted Matthew Ostrove, chair of the Winnipeg Jewish Business Council. “After the CancerCare presentation, we met with Cancer researchers Dr. Spencer Gibson, Dr. Brent Shachter and Dr. Marshall Pitz to discuss a collaboration between Bar Ilan, the University of Manitoba and CancerCare Manitoba.”

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