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Yaakov Maman, PhD

Yaakov Maman, PhD

Grant Status

Bar-Ilan University

Grant Type
Research Career Development Award

Project Title
Harnessing the signature of Helicobacter pylori genotoxicity for Gastric Cancer diagnosis

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Cancer Diagnostics, Gastrointestinal Cancer

Named Grant

Machla Liebe Librach Stomach Cancer Research Fund RCDA

About the Investigator:

Dr. Maman and his lab combine sensitive, high-throughput genomic assays and computational modeling to crack the genomic code that drives genome instability in different cell types, pathologies, and conditions and to grasp the landscape of DNA lesions in cancer. He received his BSc and MSc degrees from Ben-Gurion University, his PhD from Bar-Ilan University, and then did postdoctoral work at the Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut. After several years as a Staff Scientist at the National Cancer Institute (NIH) in Maryland, he returned to Bar-Ilan University where he is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine and Head of The Laboratory of Genome Instability and Cancer.

About the Research:

Gastric Cancer (GC) is a deadly disease, causing around 700,000 deaths each year. One of the significant risk factors for GC is being infected with a type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which infects almost half of the world’s population. Most people with H. pylori don’t have any symptoms, but for some, it can lead to chronic gastritis, ulcers, and eventually GC, which can take years or even decades to develop. Unfortunately, early diagnosis of GC is problematic because it has no noticeable symptoms. Scientists are still trying to figure out why some people with H. pylori get GC while others don’t.

When DNA gets damaged, it can cause genetic changes that lead to cancer. Dr. Maman’s lab used a unique technique to create a map of the damage caused by H. pylori infection in the DNA. They found that H. pylori infection caused thousands of breaks in DNA all over the genome. This happened because there weren’t enough nucleotides, which are the building blocks of DNA. When there aren’t enough nucleotides, the DNA can’t replicate properly and breaks occur. Dr. Maman also discovered that the areas of the genome that broke most often after infection overlapped with where genetic changes are commonly found in people with GC.

Dr. Maman now aims to harness these findings to develop tools for early diagnosis of cancerous processes in infected individuals. This will be done by analyzing tissues from infected and uninfected individuals to find cellular and genetic markers that reflect the initiation of the cancerous process


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