Prof. Satchi-Fainaro named one of most influential women in Israel by Forbes-Israel

Her research uses novel nanomedical techniques to effectively attack tumor cells

01 September 2014
Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro in her lab
Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro in her lab

Forbes-Israel has named TAU Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro as one of Israel's most influential women. She is currently the chair of Sackler's Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, where she has lectured since 2005. 


In her lab, Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro and doctoral students Hemda Baabur-Cohen and Ela Markovsky have developed a novel nanomedical technique to more effectively attack and dismantle tumor cells, while staying "beneath the radar" of the body's immune system as the drugs travel through the body. The new research, to be published in the Journal of Controlled Release, demonstrates that this "synergistic" treatment is far more effective and less toxic than traditional chemotherapies or drug cocktails.


Prof. Satchi-Fainaro and her team leveraged the performance and toxicity of two common chemotherapy drugs — doxorubicin (DOX) and paclitaxel (PTX) — to produce the best combined ratio. Once an effective, safe level was established on mice afflicted with human breast cancer, the researchers sought the perfect carrier to safely transport these therapies to their ultimate destination: human cancer cells.


The researchers chose polyglutamic acid (PGA) as the nanovehicle to transport the two chemotherapies. The PGA-PTX-DOX combination demonstrated a major advantage over a combination of traditional therapies. Furthermore, it was the first time scientists were able to systematically demonstrate a model of combined nanomedicine that also exhibited superior anti-tumor efficacy.


"By putting several passengers in one 'taxi' made of a polymer, all of them can arrive at the same site at the same time," explained Prof. Satchi-Fainaro. "This forces the drugs to share the same pharmacokinetic profile. The nanomedicine we designed is a pro-drug, activated by an enzyme produced in many types of cancers. Once the polymer 'taxi' is degraded, the drugs are released at the tumor site, facilitating a truly synergistic cooperation.


"Our aim is to expand our arsenal of anti-cancer weapons while decreasing the toxicity of the chemotherapy drugs used. Our 'stealth' carriers travel under the radar of the immune system, straight to the tumor and its supporting microenvironment."


Her innvoative research is rewriting the war on cancer, and it continues to gain attention in Israel and abroad.


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