Groundbreaking TAU researcher wins prestigious TAU SPARK grant

Dr. Lior Mayo recognized for research into repurposing drugs for glioblastoma

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Dr. Lior Mayo of TAU’s Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research and Sagol School of Neuroscience has been chosen to participate in SPARK TEL AVIV, part of the global SPARK program. The program was created to support academic efforts in translating discoveries into therapeutics that address unmet medical needs. Being chosen for the SPARK program provides Dr. Mayo and his colleagues with industry support to more quickly advance this transition.

“This is a huge step forward for our efforts and a solid vote of confidence from the pharmaceutical industry,” Dr. Mayo says.

In a groundbreaking study in 2022, Dr. Mayo’s research suggested a new approach that effectively eradicates glioblastoma, a highly lethal type of brain cancer. The researchers achieved the outcome using a method they developed based on their discovery of two critical mechanisms in the brain that support tumor growth and survival: one protects cancer cells from the immune system, while the other supplies the energy required for rapid tumor growth. The researchers found that both mechanisms are controlled by brain cells called astrocytes, and in their absence, the tumor cells die and are eliminated. His findings provide a promising basis for the development of effective medications for treating glioblastoma and other types of brain tumors.

SPARK TEL AVIV is a unique cross-sector partnership between the university and industry experts, establishing a unique ecosystem program that will help to accelerate the TAU-affiliated medical centers’ academic inventions, from bench to clinic. The program’s mission is to develop more cost-effective and innovative approaches to drug development, biomarkers, as well as digital health and bio-convergence technologies. This is performed by close collaboration with the university’s leading drug discoveries core facilities, and entrepreneurship programs as well as the affiliated medical centers.



"This is a huge step forward for our efforts and a solid vote of confidence from the pharmaceutical industry."