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May 31, 2024

Spotlight on Professor Tal Burstyn-Cohen

The ICRF – Joseph Safra Memorial Grant for Glioblastoma Research
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most prevalent malignant brain cancer, affecting over 300,000 people globally each year, including prominent public figures like the late Senator John McCain. The disease not only carries a high mortality rate, but also causes a rapid decline in neurological function, leading to significant emotional and financial strain for patients and their families. Professor Tal Burstyn-Cohen, recipient of the ICRF – Joseph Safra Memorial Grant for Glioblastoma Research, aims to change the outlook for those suffering from this deadly disease.

Prof. Burstyn-Cohen, a leading researcher at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is known for her significant work on Protein S (PROS1) and its role in complex cell communication, which is vital for the health of the nervous system. The Burstyn-Cohen lab focuses on the functions of PROS1 in tumor cells – specifically, how its interactions with immune cells impact tissues in health and disease. Her previous research laid the groundwork for her current investigation into the relationship between PROS1 overexpression and glioblastomas (GBM).

The loss of a close friend to glioblastoma a year ago is what drives Prof. Burstyn-Cohen’s commitment to this research. Her team’s comprehensive research strategy involves analyzing data from diverse patient groups and evaluating tumor biopsies to decode the intricacies of the tumor microenvironment and its interaction with immune cells. Their findings suggest that inhibiting PROS1 expression could make GBMs more responsive to conventional treatments like radiation and chemotherapy, offering new hope for tackling this aggressive cancer.

The ultimate goal of Prof. Burstyn-Cohen’s research is to design targeted therapies that can significantly reduce the aggressiveness of GBM. By manipulating PROS1 expression, she hopes to decrease glioblastoma’s resistance to traditional treatments, thereby prolonging patients’ survival and enhancing their quality of life. Her novel and crucial research has the potential to transform the prognosis for GBM patients and should pave the way to the development of innovative treatments aimed at reducing the harsh impacts of this formidable condition.

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