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Niv Papo, PhD

Niv Papo, PhD

Grant Status
Active

Institution
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Grant Type
Project Grant

Project Title
Map Ligand Binding Selectivity Landscapes toward Engineering Target-Specific Inhibitors

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Inhibiting Tumor Growth


About the Investigator:

Dr. Papo develops high affinity proteins using a combination of experimental and computational methodologies to bind to and antagonize a variety of disease-related targets. He received his BSc and MSc degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and his PhD in biochemistry from the Weizmann Institute. He worked on protein engineering as a postdoc at Stanford, and then joined the faculty at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, where he is now an Associate Professor.

About the Research:

Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs) comprise a large family of enzymes whose abnormal activities have been implicated in cancer progression. Despite extensive efforts, there are currently no clinically approved therapeutic agents that are specific for individual MMPs. Difficulty in generating them are almost certainly due to the similarity in structures of the many enzymes in this large family.

The goal of this project is to engineer novel inhibitors for these well-established chemical targets in cancer therapy. To do so, Dr. Papo and his team will screen large compound libraries for inhibitors that are selective for one or a subset of MMPs, and carry out computational analysis of binding specificity. This analysis will use tools they have developed that make this a one-step, cost-effective process. They will evaluate the ability of these engineered inhibitors to function as MMP antagonists using in vitro, cell-based and pre-clinical studies. Based on these results, they will devise approaches to enhance specificity that make these inhibitors useful in the clinic.

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