Revolutionizing the Fight Against Cancer: An Israeli Perspective

7:00 pm-8:30 pm

Jewish Federation of St. Louis/Kaplan Feldman Complex, 12 Millstone Drive, St. Louis, MO


A Conversations with Professor Sarit Larisch, Head of Cell Death and Cancer Research Laboratory, University of Haifa Departments of Biology and Human Biology

Professor Sarit Larisch investigates the cellular mechanisms that promote cell death. Every cell in our body contains a “self-destruct” mechanism that is activated when cells aren’t functioning well or have mutated in a way that can cause harm. Normal cells become cancerous by escaping cell death. Through her research Professor Larisch has discovered a new protein, ARTS, which is required for the process of cell death. In cancers this protein is lost, allowing the cancer cells to evade death and become “immortal.” In order to restore this function Professor Larisch has developed a unique molecule that mimics the ARTS protein, restoring and enforcing cell “suicide” in a wide range of cancer types. Additionally, the ARTS protein has been found to be a particularly important component for killing cancer stem cells, which are resistant to most types of anti-cancer therapies. The hope is that the ARTS mimicking molecules that Professor Larisch has developed will also prove useful in eliminating these cells, leading to the ultimate achievement of anti-cancer drugs.

Professor Larisch’s specially developed molecule has also been shown to have great promise specifically for the treatment of breast cancer. She has discovered that the treatment of pre-cancerous breast cells with the molecule not only prevents the cells from continuing towards malignancy, but actually reverses them back to healthy cells, providing a new pathway for breast cancer prevention.


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