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Gali Prag, PhD

Gali Prag, PhD

Grant Status
Active

Institution
Tel Aviv University

Grant Type
Acceleration Grant

Project Title
Augmented Degradation of Beta-catenin by Molecular Glue: A New Modality for Colorectal Cancer Therapy

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Protein Engineering, Skin Cancer


About the Investigator:

Gali Prag was born in Kibbutz Ein Harod in Israel, where he was surrounded by nature and developed a passion for science. After a long military service as a naval officer, he completed his PhD studies at the Hebrew University/Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem. During his postdoctoral studies at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), he become interested in how the ubiquitin code is recognized and interpreted at the atomic resolution level. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology of Tel Aviv University.

About the Research:

Proteins that stimulate cell division must be tightly regulated to prevent excessive division which can lead to cancer. Among these are proteins associated with colorectal, breast, prostate, and skin cancer. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to inhibit the activity of these proteins, and the pharmaceutical industry calls them “undruggable.”

Dr. Prag suggests an alternative strategy: protein degradation. The ubiquitin system regulates the levels or activities of many proteins in human cells, usually to promote their destruction. Professor Prag proposes to identify drugs that can recruit the ubiquitin system to proteins that promote development of cancer and thereby cause their degradation. To do this, the Prag laboratory has developed a novel molecular search engine that, similar to Google, can filter millions of molecules to identify the ones that have the capacity to induce degradation of the cancer-causing protein. The system they have developed employs E. coli bacteria that have been engineered to report on stability of the molecules of interest. They will apply this platform to identify drugs with potential to treat colorectal and other cancers.

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