top TOP
Grant Recipients Home

Galia Blum, PhD

Galia Blum, PhD

Grant Status

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Grant Type
Project Grant

Project Title
Enhancing lung cancer treatment by cathepsin-targeted chemical tools

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Immunology and Immunotherapy, Lung Cancer

About the Investigator:

Dr. Blum’s research focuses on developing novel chemical probes to detect and image enzyme function and applying them to investigate the involvement of specific enzymes in diseased conditions. Her interest is in cancer and resistance to cancer immunotherapy, to which her newly-developed probes are applied as molecular imaging reagents. Recently, she developed probes that enable theranostic applications (combining both therapy and diagnostics in one) and used them on animal models of cancer and resected human samples. Her unique expertise in chemistry, biochemistry, optical, and CT imaging makes Dr. Blum a world leader in protease imaging, and her research has translational potential.

About the Research:

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death. Even after multimodal treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiotherapy, the five-year survival rate does not exceed 20%. Limitations of immunotherapy include resistance and autoimmune phenomena, while toxicity to healthy tissue surrounding the tumor limits radiotherapy doses. Dr. Blum and her team have discovered that a set of enzymes become highly active when resistance to immunotherapy occurs in mouse models of melanoma and human melanoma tissue. Furthermore, they have developed gold-labeled probes that can bind to these highly active enzymes in the body and produce a signal detected by CT. Interestingly, they recently discovered that immunotherapy
highly activated the target enzymes in human lung cancer tissues.

Dr. Blum’s integrative team, comprised of a thoracic surgeon, a radiation oncologist, and a chemical biologist, aims to evaluate novel tools to enhance immunotherapy and radiotherapy in lung cancer patients. Specifically, they will analyze freshly-excised, human lung cancer samples for response to the combination treatment of immunotherapy and a unique inhibitor. Furthermore, they will investigate the gold-labeled probe accumulation in tumors and their ability to target and enhance radiotherapy. If successful, the methodologies evaluated here should provide lung cancer patients with personalized detection and novel treatment options.

Help End the Suffering Caused By Cancer

The answer to cancer is research. Support groundbreaking cancer research in Israel today: