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Avi-Hai Hovav, PhD

Avi-Hai Hovav, PhD

Grant Status
Active

Institution
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Grant Type
Project Grant

Project Title
Elucidating Early Carcinogenic Mechanisms Dysregulating Langerhans Cell Differentiation during Experimental Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Early Detection, Oral Cancer


About the Investigator:

Dr. Hovav obtained his BSc and PhD degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, pursued postdoctoral training at Harvard University, then returned to Israel, where he is currently a Professor in the Faculty of Dental Medicine at the Hebrew University. His research focuses on the development and function of the immune system in the oral mucosa, and how the normal protection provided by the immune system is bypassed to permit development of oral squamous cell carcinoma.

About the Research:

Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is the most prevalent cancer in the oral cavity. Oral squamous cell
carcinoma is typically diagnosed well into the course of the disease, and by this time treatment can be poorly effective. Early diagnosis is thus of paramount clinical importance. Dr. Hovav’s objective is to identify mechanisms involved in early development of oral squamous cell carcinoma and thereby improve the discovery of effective predictive markers.

The immune system normally protects against tumor development by identifying nascent tumors and attacking them. In the oral epithelium, protection is provided by specialized immune cells, called Langerhans cells. The Hovav lab recently reported that the protective role of Langerhans cells can be challenged by other immune cells, and that the epithelium undergoes a ‘turning point’ that transforms it from a cancer-resistant to cancerpermissive environment. Their goal is to elucidate the mechanisms involved in this turning point and translate this knowledge into the development of novel strategiesfor the early diagnosis of oral squamous cell carcinoma.

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