Cancer is one of the oldest diseases known to man and yet we still have not been able to vanquish it. One of the top priorities for our institute is finding new solutions for cancer treatment in our Department for Translational Research. Our approach is multipronged, one direction is focusing on designing new small molecules for cancer treatment and optimizing them in comprehensive biological models. A second direction is screening existing molecules for new applications. A third is repurposing existing drugs for the treatment of new indications. These new treatment solutions target a variety of processes necessary for cancer development, including cell division, genomic instability, drug resistance, and escaping the immune response. Our multidisciplinary approach which integrates knowledge from the molecular, cellular and systems levels, along with bioinformatics analysis gives us a unique edge in drug discovery.
New technologies for personalized diagnostics
One of the greatest challenges facing the clinician in today's age is the choice of treatment plan. It is becoming acutely obvious that there is pressing need to match the treatment plan to the unique patient. The Department of Personalized medicine in the Institute is working to develop new models to enable personalized tumor diagnoses and treatment selection including spheroids, organoids and co-culturing. We also have projects that explore how diet can increase cancer treatment efficacy in the field of breast cancer specifically. Our approach aims to cast a wide net, to collect as much information as possible in order to give a deep and broad picture of the individual, these efforts will be strongly supported by our Bioinformatics Unit.
While cannabis has been used medicinally since ancient times, in the modern era, there is renewed interest in cannabis to treat a variety of conditions including pain, inflammation, cancer, epilepsy and more. As use of cannabis for medical indications becomes more common it is important to understand its mechanism and interactions on a deeper level. In the Institute, in our Translational Research Department, we explore how cannabis interacts with other drugs, focusing on inhibitory and synergistic interactions to craft the ideal cannabis based treatment. In our Department of Personalized Medicine, we have another direction, understanding which patients respond best to specific compounds in cannabis with the knowledge that each plant and each person are unique. Our Institute explores these question on a preclinical and clinical level with partners both in academia and industry.
Medical data analysis and bioinformatics
The staff in the Medical Analysis and Bioinformatics unit in the Institute has extensive expertise in various fields of bioinformatics, including Genome-Wide Association Screening (GWAS) and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). They use various methods of data analysis, including Whole Genome and Whole Exome Sequencing analysis (WGS&WES), and RNAseq analysis. They also have expertise in data science, including statistics, machine learning, neural networks, natural language processing (NLP), and image recognition. They are a central part of a number of the Institute's projects. Furthermore they have collaborations with external organizations in biological and medical data analysis.