Register for updates

 
 

Medicine & Health
RSS Feed
TAU and Ichilov Researchers Develop Innovative Treatment for Familial Adenomatous Polyposis
Thursday, October 03, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Adolescents and young adults with the inherited disorder bear a high risk of developing colorectal cancer

Researchers from Tel Aviv University and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital) have developed an innovative drug treatment for familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), a rare, inherited condition that affects adolescents and young adults and often leads to colorectal cancer.

The novel drug, based on antibiotics, inhibits the development of intestinal polyps that, left untreated, become cancerous. In a preliminary clinical trial, the condition of seven out of eight patients who completed the full treatment improved dramatically.

The research was jointly led by Prof. Rina Rosin-Arbesfeld of the Department of Microbiology and Clinical Immunology at TAU's Sackler School of Medicine and Prof. Revital Kariv of the Sackler School and the Department of Gastroenterology at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. It was published on July 8 in the International Journal of Cancer.

FAP, which is characterized by multiple polyps along the gastrointestinal tract, especially in the large bowel, is caused by a mutation in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene. These mutations are also crucial for colorectal cancer development.

"To prevent the development of colorectal cancer, FAP patients are closely monitored via frequent colonoscopies to locate and remove their polyps," Prof. Rosin-Arbesfeld says. "However, some patients must have their colons removed at a very young age, which dramatically affects their quality of life."

In its normal state, APC promotes the production of a protein that inhibits cancer development. But mutations to the APC gene produce an inactive protein that is unable to prevent the development of the polyps. In some FAP patients, the mutations in the APC gene are what are called "nonsense mutations."

"Each sequence of three nucleotides in the DNA is a code that tells the cell to produce a certain amino acid, which are the building blocks of the proteins produced in the body's cells," Prof. Rosin-Arbesfeld explains. "At the end of the protein coding sequence, there is usually a 'stop codon' to stop the protein production. But in FAP patients with a nonsense mutation, the APC's stop codon appears prematurely, so the protein production stops prematurely, creating an inactive protein."

Previous experiments on cell cultures and mouse models in Prof. Rosin-Arbesfeld's laboratory revealed that certain types of antibiotics caused cells to "ignore" the mutation stop codon and a normal protein resulted. These trials yielded promising results that led to the clinical trial at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

"Since the relevant antibiotics were already approved for human use, we decided to move directly from the laboratory to the clinic and to examine the treatment of FAP patients," says Prof. Rosin-Arbesfeld.

In the clinical study carried out by Prof. Kariv and Dr. Shlomi Cohen, director of the Pediatric Gastroenterology Unit at Dana-Dwek Children's Hospital, 10 FAP patients received the novel antibiotic therapy. Eight of them completed the treatment, which lasted four months. Colonoscopies performed during and after the treatment showed that in seven patients the polyps significantly decreased in number. Moreover, the positive effects of the treatment were evident a year after it began.

"Our goal as therapists, in addition to preventing cancer, is to improve the quality of life of our patients and their families and to enable them to live as full and normal lives as possible," Prof. Kariv concludes. "The new therapeutic approach we are developing may allow patients to delay surgical intervention or even prevent it entirely."

The researchers recently won Tel Aviv University's SPARK grant, which supports the development of applied research.




Latest News

Haylee Zirman Joins AFTAU as Senior Director for the Northeast Region

Former Hillel and UJA development executive brings successful experience in the New York Jewish philanthropic community.

Study Reveals That Humans Migrated from Europe to the Levant 40,000 Years Ago

Discovery of teeth in Manot Cave sheds light on a population known for its cultural contributions, TAU researchers say.

Kelly Grunther Named Vice President, Marketing and Communications, of AFTAU

Accomplished public relations executive has extensive experience in both private and public sectors.

Ronit Sharir Joins AFTAU as National Director of Alumni Affairs

TAU graduate brings experience as a passionate networker and community manager.

Karen P. Marcus Joins AFTAU as Senior Director for the Southeast Region

Passionate advocate for Israel brings leadership experience and talent for collaboration to the position.

Study Finds Prehistoric Humans Ate Bone Marrow Like Canned Soup 400,000 Years Ago

Bone and skin preserved the nutritious marrow for later consumption, TAU researchers say.

TAU and Ichilov Researchers Develop Innovative Treatment for Familial Adenomatous Polyposis

Adolescents and young adults with the inherited disorder bear a high risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Engineered T Cells May Be Harnessed to Kill Solid Tumor Cells

Novel immunotherapy extends therapy now used in fighting leukemia, TAU researchers say.

Researchers Discover How a Protein Connecting Calcium and Plant Hormone Regulates Plant Growth

Mechanism enables plants to adapt their development to their environment, TAU researchers say.

LocalTAU Top Scientists Move Closer to Securing Pilot Program in Miami

Fellows from competition return to Miami to present at marine health summit and participate in high-level meetings.

contentSecondary
c

© 2019 American Friends of Tel Aviv University
39 Broadway, Suite 1510 | New York, NY 10006 | 212.742.9070 | info@aftau.org
Privacy policy | Tel Aviv University