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Einstein receives high-risk/high-reward cancer research funding
Date:12/7/2009

cancer cells. While the immediate focus will be on prostate cancer, the technologies developed will be broadly applicable to most other cancers.

Dr. Levy's efforts will center on aptamers, a newer class of targeting molecule that can specifically bind to particular proteins found on the surface of cancer cells. The aptamers will then be combined with existing FDA-approved drugs, creating a single molecule called an aptamer-prodrug. Upon binding to their target, these aptamer-prodrugs will release the drug cargo directly into the cell, thereby minimizing systemic toxicity.

Because cellular uptake is often linked to trafficking to lysosomes, a cellular compartment that contains digestive enzymes, Dr. Levy will also be collaborating with Ana Maria Cuervo, M.D., Ph.D., an expert in lysosome biology. Dr. Cuervo is professor of developmental & molecular biology, of anatomy & structural biology, and of medicine at Einstein.

Additionally, Dr. Levy will devise new methods to develop aptamer-prodrugs that can home in directly on tumor cells. If successful, these methods will allow the production of aptamer-prodrugs that could target almost any type of cell and cancer.

"The translation of Dr. Levy's expertise in aptamer technologies to the treatment of cancer builds upon his initial studies focused on prostate cancer," said I. David Goldman, M.D., director of the Albert Einstein Cancer Center and the Susan Resnick Fisher Professor in Brain Cancer Research. "This represents an exciting new avenue of research at Einstein directed to the development of therapies that specifically target cancer cells."

"This award to Dr. Levy is a highly appropriate honor for his novel research applying chemical biology approaches to cancer problems," said Vern Schramm, Ph.D., the Ruth Merns Chair in Biochemistry, who recruited Levy to join Einstein's faculty in 2007. "His research typifies the integration of new technologies across disciplines to
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Contact: Deirdre Branley
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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