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Yoav Shaul, PhD

Yoav Shaul, PhD

Grant Status

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Grant Type
Project Grant

Project Title
The Regulatory Role of the Oncometabolite Dihydropyrimidine in Cancer Cell Plasticity

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Breast Cancer, Cancer Metastasis

About the Investigator:

Dr. Shaul’s research focuses on “oncometabolites,” products of metabolic pathways that are deregulated in cancer and contribute to development of disease. He completed his BSc at the Hebrew University, and received his MSc and PhD degrees from the Weizmann Institute. He joined the Faculty of Medicine at Hebrew University in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology following postdoctoral research at the MIT Whitehead Institute and the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research in Cambridge, MA.

About the Research:

In both the United States and Israel, about one of every eight women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Unfortunately, despite significant progress in understanding this disease, some breast cancer patients do not survive. One of the chief causes for mortality is metastasis of cells from the original site of the tumor to other organs, such as the lungs. Metastatic cells have undergone a number of changes that cause their properties to differ significantly from the original tumor. Frequently, they exhibit changes in the metabolic pathways that convert nutrients to essential compounds for cell division and function. Normal metabolic pathways may become altered, so that cancer cells produce unusual and characteristic compounds, referred to as “oncometabolites.”

Dr. Shaul has developed an experimental model whereby cells acquire their metastatic phenotype by accumulating the oncometabolite, dihydropyrimidine. The goal of this project is to formulate a strategy to reduce dihydropyrimidine accumulation by treating tumor cells with drugs. This is predicted to block metastasis and facilitate therapy of breast cancer. This work has the potential to advance our understanding of tumor metastasis and its metabolic regulation and to ultimately identify a new class of anticancer drugs that target the metabolic roots of tumor aggressiveness.


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