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Raphael Benhamou, PhD

Raphael Benhamou, PhD

Grant Status

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Grant Type
Research Career Development Award

Project Title
Developing Small Molecules Targeting MicroRNA for Cancer Therapy

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Targeted Therapies, Triple Negative Breast Cancer, Women's Cancers

Named Grant:

The ICRF – Redhill Foundation Research Career Development Award

About the Investigator:

Dr. Raphael Benhamou’s research focuses on using disease-related RNAs as a target for therapy. He received his BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees from Tel Aviv University. After completing his postdoctoral training at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, he joined the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he is now an Assistant Professor in the School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine.

About the Research:

The development of targeted therapies has transformed the treatment and improved clinical responses of patients with many tumor types. Unfortunately, there are not yet effective targeted therapies for difficult-to treat cancers. New therapeutic strategies are needed to prevent relapse and metastasis in these diseases, including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

The goal of the Benhamou laboratory is to develop strategies to inhibit the biogenesis of small RNA molecules called micro-RNAs, or “miRNAs,” implicated in cancer progression. To do this, they will design, identify, and characterize novel chemical compounds that bind structured motifs in oncogenic miRNAs, using a combinatorial chemistry approach that will enable them to generate and test a high number of potential ligands. They will validate activity by analyzing cell lines from patients with triple-negative breast cancer. Ultimately, in order to treat disease, these compounds will be reshaped as chimeric compounds that inhibit miRNA maturation.

If an oncogenic miRNA is specifically blocked by one or more of these new compounds, this will provide a new class of targeted therapeutics and a paradigm for how to target other miRNAs involved in other cancer types.


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