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Shai Izraeli, MD

Shai Izraeli, MD

Grant Status
Active

Institution
Tel Aviv University

Grant Type
Research Professorship Grant

Project Title
Towards the cure of childhood leukemia

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Brain Cancer, Leukemia, Pediatric Cancer


About the Investigator:

Professor Izraeli is the head of Hematological Malignancies Research at Tel Aviv University and the Director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Schneider Children’s Medical Center, the major referral center for children with cancer in Israel and one of the largest in Europe and the USA. As a hospital-based physician-scientist who actively sees patients while leading a research laboratory, Professor Izraeli is unusually well-positioned to develop new cures for pediatric cancer. He follows a translational research cycle that starts when identification of a problem in a patient stimulates new research in the laboratory, which eventually, leads to discoveries that improve patients’ lives. Professor Izraeli’s international recognition and his unique role as head of one of the largest centers for pediatric oncology contribute to this critical translation from discovery to therapy.

About the Research:

Currently, eight out of ten children with leukemia will be cured. Professor Izraeli’s goal is to translate research discoveries into new therapies that will cure every child with leukemia.

Leukemia can spread to the brain, which is challenging to treat in pediatric patients as standard radiation and chemotherapies are highly toxic to the developing brain. New treatments are needed to address this currently devastating complication. Dr. Izraeli’s research on metabolism and epigenetics provides hope for these patients. Metabolism refers to both the “food’ that cancer cells depend on and the specific biochemical pathways that are activated in the cells. Dr. Izraeli and his colleagues have made the tantalizing discovery that leukemia cells that metastasize to the brain depend on synthesis of fat for their survival. The goal of his proposed research is to learn how to build on this vulnerability to prevent and cure the spread of leukemia to the brain.

Dr. Izraeli’s vision for the next five years is to bring to fruition his long-term goal of bringing at least one of his laboratory’s basic discoveries to a clinical trial for children with high-risk leukemia, thereby completing the cycle of translational science that he began 20 years ago.

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