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January 3, 2022

Efrat Shema, PhD

Weizmann Institute of Science

ICRF Project Grant Recipient

ICRF Grant Recipient Efrat Shema Explores Deadly Childhood Cancers

We will be highlighting several of our newly funded scientists in the coming months. This month we are proud to introduce Professor Efrat Shema of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The goal of Dr. Shema’s research is to identify new drug targets and improve future treatments for glioma patients. To reach this goal, she has recently developed a novel technological approach to study changes in histones (a special class of proteins) and related proteins that regulate gene expression. Her team will apply this technology to elucidate how alterations in one particular type of histone protein (histone H3) may drive development of pediatric gliomas and how recurrent mutations in another cellular protein (known as IDH protein) may contribute to the development of adult glioma. These analyses will yield new data on genome regulation in cancer and open the way to new therapeutic opportunities.

Malignant gliomas are aggressive tumors of the central nervous system, which are very challenging to treat. The uncontrolled growth and invasiveness of gliomas (and other cancers) are driven by aberrant regulation or expression of genes. A central feature of this gene regulation involves changes in the packaging of genes into more complex structures (known as chromatin) involving DNA organized together with histones. Mutations affecting the histones (and hence, the organization and expression of key genes) have been found in many glioma subtypes and appear to drive the development of tumors. However, the underlying mechanisms by which these mutations drive disease are poorly understood.

View Grant Recipient profile

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