Researchers uncover a survival mechanism in cancer cells22-11-2016
Scientists from the Crick Institute, London and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, discover a protein that plays a key role in turning cancer tumour cells into cancer stem cells that are able to renew outbreaks of the disease
An international study led by scientists from the Crick Institute in London and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem revealed a survival mechanism in cancer cells that allows the disease to erupt again even after aggressive treatment. In a paper published in Science (LINK) the researchers describe the mechanism by which cancer tumour cells become cancer stem cells that can sustain long-term growth.
When cancer develops, the generated cells are not uniform in their biological properties and contribute differently to tumour development. Only a small portion of cancer cells can form new tumours or metastases, and these are called "cancer stem cells." This disparity between tumour cells poses major challenges in understanding the nature of the tumour, its sensitivity to drugs, and planning an effective treatment that will eliminate all tumour cells.
"Many chemotherapy drugs leave a small amount of cancer stem cells that cause a renewed outbreak of the disease after a few years. It is therefore important to identify cancer stem cells in tumours and characterize the differences between the different tumour cells as the basis for detecting weak spots in the course of the development of the disease," explained Prof. Eran Meshorer, head of the Laboratory for stem cells and epigenetics in the Institute of Life Sciences and a member of the Edmond and Lily Safra Centre for Brain Sciences (ELSC) of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Cancer stem cells are not limited to the tumour itself and they are able to engage again in healthy environment and stimulate the disease. To study the characteristics of those unique cells, Prof. Meshorer and doctoral student Alva Biran from the Hebrew University teamed up with Dr. Paula Scaffidi and Christina Morales Torres from The Crick Institute in London. The international research team also included Dr. Ayelet Hashahar Cohen of the Hebrew University, Dr. Rotem Ben-Hamo and Professor Sol Efroni from Bar-Ilan University, and Dr. Tom Misteli from the National Cancer Institute, NIH.
The research team found that in a number of cancer types, those cancer stem cells lose one of their DNA packaging proteins – H1.0. By binding to DNA, H1.0 silences the expression of the genes it binds to.
"We found that the disappearance of H1.0 is crucial for the cancer cells to remain immortal. To understand the mechanism of action, we mapped its interaction with DNA and found that it binds to the genes’ regulatory regions. When H1.0 levels go down, the genes to which it binds can be activated. These genes, it turns out, are the ones which provide the cancer cell with its immortal potential," explained Prof. Meshorer.
The study is based on epigenetics – a scientific field that investigates gene expression in DNA by switching genes on and off. In order to identify the cancer stem cells from other cells in the tumour, the research team studied epigenetic mechanisms that distinguish between the least-sorted cells, with endless division properties and a potential to create growth, and the more sorted cells which lack this ability.
The results showed an inverse relation between H1.0 and the division of cancer cells: "As the H1.0 levels fall, the greater the potential of uncontrolled division of cells. In contrast, high levels of the protein prevent this process. We found that the disappearance of protein H1.0 is characteristic of cancer stem cells and it is necessary to maintain the ability of partition and the potential for growth creation."
The discovery could open the door for medical intervention in cancer stem cells aimed at the restoration of high levels of H1.0 in all cancer cells. While further research is needed to understand the effectiveness of H1.0 protein in preventing the spread of cancer growth, this research advances significantly the study of the mechanisms of cancer stem cells and the relatively new epigenetic approach to cancer research.
Some twenty rectors from leading Latin American universities visited Israel this week and signed agreements with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in a first-of-its-kind conference signalling growing academic cooperation15-12-2016
Study of Israeli adolescents also looks at impact of socioeconomic position on subsequent cognitive impairment08-12-2016
Hebrew University Researchers Develop a New Strain of Passion Fruit that significantly protects brain cells and its function from aging-related damage08-12-2016
A history book about Jewish-Arab relations titled Juifs et musulmans en Palestine et en Israel des origines ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â nos jours recently won the first prize for the best history book published in France in 08-12-2016
Keynote lecture - Child Soldiers06-12-2016
Hebrew University Researchers Bring Home 3 of the 8 EMET Prizes Awarded for 201604-12-2016
When and Why Do Children Give Others the Bigger Piece of the Pie?29-11-2016
Scientists from the Crick Institute, London and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, discover a protein that plays a key role in turning cancer tumour cells into cancer stem cells that are able to renew outbreaks of the disease22-11-2016
An analysis of graduates employability published by Times Higher Education (THE) has ranked graduates of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as the 67th most employable in the world.20-11-2016
Governor General discusses collaborative medical research partnerships between Canada and Israel at IMRIC, the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada03-11-2016
On the first day of his state visit to Israel, the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, gave a keynote address to an overflow audience, at the Truman Institute on the university's Mount Scopus campus.30-10-2016
Sunday 20th November: 10:30 - 17:00 Paris27-10-2016
Four joint seminars took place, where scientists from the Hebrew University and the University of Vienna met to exchange ideas and to prepare proposals for third party funding27-10-2016
Deborah Steinmetz, Director, Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive18-10-2016
International partnership unravels the mechanism by which Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) reprograms human metabolism, and identifies new pathways of anti-viral resistance10-10-2016
Scientists show for the first time how bacterial superantigen toxins work, and how short peptides can block them and save lives06-10-2016
A delegation of Asian religious leaders visited the Hebrew University of Jerusalem13-09-2016
Innovative boutique programme for professional training in the growth, production and analysis of wine, as well as wineries management17-08-2016
Succeeding Jacqueline Caspi as Chair of the BFHU Young Professional Committee is Benjamin Stowe16-08-2016
New finds contribute significantly to research of Roman art in Israel: Provide first evidence of figurative images in wall paintings at the site, and precede earliest mosaics discovered at the site by a hundred years10-08-2016
In a historic find, a large fragment of an Egyptian statue measuring 45 X 40 centimetres, made of lime-stone, was discovered In the course of the current season of excavations at Tel-Hazor, north of the Sea of Galilee in Israel25-07-2016
Dr. Yosef Buganim is a young researcher at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC), part of the Hebrew University's Faculty of Medicine18-07-2016
New molecules, developed by Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists, reduce inflammation, cell death and cognitive impairments following traumatic brain injury in mice11-07-2016
The Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR), based in Saudi Arabia, has ranked the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at #26 among the 25,000+ degree-granting institutions in the world.11-07-2016
Goes to Hebrew University's ELSC Brain Sciences Centre07-07-2016
Named a Commander of the Legion of Honour29-06-2016
Dame Helen Mirren, one of the world's best-known and most respected actresses, met with Arab and Jewish theatre students at The Billy Crystal Program for Peace Through the Performing Arts26-06-2016
Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings Editor of Times Higher Education Rankings: "It has never been as clear to me that the balance of power is shifting from the West to the East."20-06-2016
Historical survey of excavated mosaic art of pagans, Jews, Samaritans, Christians and Muslims earns Hebrew University professor the first prize in this year's Polonsky Awards08-06-2016
Pinchas Tsukerman developed a novel immunotherapy method in which monoclonal antibodies neutralize the tumor's ability to suppress the immune system07-06-2016
'Striving to expand the government is correct and justified.' President Rivlin, a Hebrew University alumnus, praises academia's role as unifier of Israeli society29-05-2016
The British Friends of The Hebrew University Young Professional Group has held its first dinner. The dinner was hosted by Lord Pannick QC in the Peers' Dining Room, House of Lords26-05-2016
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, American Jewish Philanthropist Mortimer B. Zuckerman, and i24 founder Patrick Drahi To Be Honored at Hebrew University Convocation22-05-2016
The University of Toronto and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem are pleased to deepen their partnership in the fields of social work and bio-innovation19-05-2016
Hebrew University signs agreements with leading academic institutions from the Republic of Singapore, and confers honorary doctorate upon Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong18-04-2016
Hebrew University's liver-on-chip platform is uniquely able to monitor metabolic changes indicating mitochondrial damage occurring at drug concentrations previously regarded as safe04-04-2016
Yaacov Michlin, CEO, Yissum: During 2015, Yissum founded a record number of eight companies based on inventions of researchers from the Hebrew University Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology31-03-2016
His Excellency the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.30-03-2016
Yissum takes part in project to Operate a Tech Incubator under Israel's National Incubator Programme
Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) LED Group joins forces with Motorola Solutions (NYSE: MSI), Reliance Industries (NSE: Reliance) and Yissum, the Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem22-03-2016
The haploid stem cells may yield new genetic screening tools and therapies16-03-2016
New blood test uses methylation patterns of circulating DNA from dying cells to detect diabetes, multiple sclerosis, pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis and brain damage, opening up vast possibilities for diagnostic medicine.14-03-2016
The Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University, comes to London10-03-2016
Dedication Ceremony and Memorial Lecture on March 14 on Mount Scopus10-03-2016
Hebrew University students develop life-saving device following a wave of stabbing attacks that leaves some civilians with collapsed lungs09-03-2016
Researchers find that a cell aging program causes human and mouse pancreatic beta cells to work harder and secrete more insulin07-03-2016
Hebrew University researchers develop a solution for long-term preservation of cells and organs for transplant, as part of a global alliance to bank organs02-03-2016
Hebrew University formula that activates the body's natural defense against free radicals could control a variety of skin pathologies and disorders29-02-2016
New fibre optic guide-wire will enable surgeons to perform highly accurate hip fracture and spinal fusion surgery with minimal side effects23-02-2016
Scientists At NSF Press Conference in D.C. Confirm Einstein's Century-Old Prediction11-02-2016
Three-Week Summer Program for International Students and Attorneys Opens June 27, 201608-02-2016
Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett has announced that Prof. Edit Doron will be awarded the Israel Prize for her work in the study of Linguistics.03-02-2016
Over 23,000,000 Euros to Promote Groundbreaking Research in Medicine, Mathematics & Sciences, and the Humanities07-01-2016
Supporting the Hebrew University since 192605-01-2016