Prof. Golomb explained that atherosclerosis is a type of blockage in the arteries that causes half of all deaths in the US, Europe and Japan. Angioplasty, one of the main procedures used to remove the blockage, is only moderately successful as a new blockage develops in 30-40 percent of patients a few months after undergoing angioplasty.
Prof. Golomb has developed a medication which is applied prior to angioplasty and prevents a new blockage from developing. He explained that the body relates to the area where the angioplasty is performed as a wound and sends cells called macrophages to the area to help it heal. (Macrophages are cells that eliminate foreign matter and particles such as bacteria from the body by ingesting them.) In many cases, the accumulation of macrophages in the area causes a new blockage to form. The medicine Prof. Golomb developed prevents the macrophages from accumulating in the area to which the angioplasty is applied, but does not affect macrophages in other areas or have a lasting effect on the mechanism that sends them out.
The medication operates like the "Trojan horse," Prof. Golomb explained. It consists of nano-sized lipid vesicles (liposomes) in each of which a molecule that is toxic to macrophages is embedded. The macrophages that are sent to the affected area after the angioplasty do not recognize that the vesicles contain a toxic molecule and ingest them. Then, like the Trojan horse, the liposome releases the poison inside the macrophage, causing its death. The drug itself and the delivery system do not affect other cells and are non-toxic to the body.
The medication has been used to successfully treat rats, pigs and rabbits thus far. A company has obtained the license to develop and test the medication, in cooperation with Prof. Golomb. It has raised significant funds for this and will begin clinical trials this year.
The Kaye Innovation Awards at the Hebrew University have been awarded annually since 1994. Isaac Kaye of England, a prominent industrialist in the pharmaceutical industry, established the awards to encourage faculty, staff, and students of the University to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential which have benefited or will benefit the University and society. The Kaye Innovation Awards at the Hebrew University are being awarded Tuesday, June 4 at 10:30 a.m. during the 65th meeting of the University Board of Governors. The award ceremony will take place in the Atzmaut-Mexico Hall in the Faculty of Humanities at the Mount Scopus Campus.
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