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Eylon Yavin, PhD

Eylon Yavin, PhD

Grant Status
Active

Institution
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Grant Type
The Len & Susan Mark Initiative for Ovarian and Uterine/MMMT Cancers

Project Title
Imaging ovarian cancer by cpFIT-PNAs

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Cancer Diagnostics, Cancer Treatment, Ovarian and Uterine Cancer


About the investigator:

Dr. Yavin’s research focuses on the design and synthesis of diagnostic and therapeutic molecules, known as Peptide Nucleic Acids, or “PNAs”, that exert their effects by binding to specific nucleic acid sequences in a cell. Dr. Yavin received his BSc degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, his MSc and PhD degrees from the Weizmann Institute of Science, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. He is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Pharmacy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

About the Research:

Treatment for ovarian cancer typically involves surgery that removes the ovaries as well as the omentum; a thin fold of abdominal tissue that encases the stomach, large intestine, and other abdominal organs. Surgery is coupled with chemotherapy to kill tumor cells. If surgery is not completely effective, residual tumor tissue that remains may result in relapse. There is an unmet need to develop novel diagnostic approaches for identification of malignant foci during the course of surgery.

The goal of Dr. Yavin’s research is to develop an approach that will enable a surgeon to recognize and remove small clusters of ovarian cancer in the course of surgery. Building on his expertise in the chemistry of PNA therapeutics/diagnostics, he proposes to develop a technology that uses a PNA molecular sensor specific for a tumor cell marker (RNA). The PNA lights up upon RNA binding thereby distinguishing tumor from normal cells. His team has already shown that tumor cells can be detected in fresh human surgical samples within minutes
of being sprayed with tumor-specific “cpFIT-PNA” probes. Dr. Yavin and his collaborators will now further test this method in a mouse model of ovarian cancer, as a step toward advancing this technology to the clinic for the benefit of ovarian cancer patients.

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