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Tel Aviv University scientists honored for proposals in melanoma research
Date:2/18/2014

Tel Aviv University researchers won two out of three prestigious melanoma research awards granted this year by The Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) and The Saban Family Foundation. The Team Science Awards are the centerpiece of the MRA research fund, which seeks to promote transformational melanoma research for swift clinical implementation.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. For their cross-disciplinary melanoma research proposals, two teams of TAU scientists and doctors received a total of $1.35 million. Leading the teams are Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine's Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and head of TAU's Cancer Angiogenesis and Nanomedicine Laboratory; and Dr. Gal Markel, of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine's Department of Microbiology and Clinical Immunology and head of the research laboratory at TAU's Ella Institute for the Treatment and Research of Melanoma and Skin Cancer at Sheba Medical Center.

How cancer cells move to the brain

Prof. Satchi-Fainaro and her colleagues Dr. Neta Erez of the Sackler Faculty's Department of Pathology, and Prof. Zvi Ram, head of the Department of Neurosurgery at Tel Aviv Medical Center received $900,000 for a proposal that explores how melanoma cells form metastases in distant organs, especially the brain. Prof. Satchi-Fainaro and her multidisciplinary team are working to identify the precise pro-metastatic factors secreted from astrocytes, special brain cells, which may constitute "druggable targets" for future nanotherapies.

"The whole field of nanomedicines for cancer is based on the fact that nanometric-size drugs (around 10-200 nanometers) are too large to leak out from normal blood vessels and harm healthy organs," said Prof. Satchi-Fainaro. "On the other hand, tumor blood vessels are incredibly leaky, so the nanomedicines can selectively exit from those blood vessels and accumulate at the tumor mass. Onc
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

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