Dr. Sarit Larisch, an Israeli researcher recently discovered a new way to destroy cancer cells. Dr. Larisch, from the University of Haifa, announced that she may have found a more effective way to treat cancer without the side effects of other therapies through a mitochondrial protein called ARTS.
In normal cells, the ARTS protein reacts with other proteins and enzymes in the cell and regulates apoptosis, the process of programmed cell death. When a cell is defective or dangerous to the body, ARTS triggers enzymes to destroy the cell.
According to Dr. Larisch’s research, cancer cells are not equipped with the ARTS protein and therefore remain in the body and potentially grow to become tumors. “We have found that ARTS is lost in many types of cancers,” Larisch told NoCamels. “Determining levels of ARTS in blood could provide a marker to alert the possibility of developing certain types of cancers.”
The focus of ARTS is on stem cells, which help the tumor grow and are resistant to chemotherapy or radiotherapy. If an ARTS-based drug can produce an apoptosis reaction to the stem calls, there is a possibility of minimizing, if not eliminating, cancer.
However, Larisch and her team are certain the drug will work, and are currently working on developing the cancer treatment drug. Other benefits of ARTS- based drugs are the side effects. “All currently available cancer drugs have unwanted side effects because they harm normal cells as well. In contrast, ARTS-based cancer drugs should only kill cancer cells because they act by specifically correcting the defect in their cell suicide program.”
Dr. Larisch’s initial discovery of the protein was at the National Cancer Institute/NIH in Maryland where she completed her post-doctorate. She has been working on the relationship between the ARTS protein and cancer cells for the past 12 years. Her laboratory of cell death and cancer research is in need of more funding, since cancer research costs more than other budgets. Currently, her research is funded by the United States-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD), the Israeli Science Foundation, and a few other private donors.
Bermant, Yoel. “Israeli Researcher Dr. Sarit Larisch Announces A Significant Breakthrough In Cancer Treatment” September 10, 2013 jewishbusinessnews.com
Imas, Sophie. “Israeli Researcher Discovers Cell-Destroying Protein That May Help Eradicate Cancer” September 8, 2013. NoCamels.com
The Larisch Laboratory of Cell Death and Cancer Research. Drsaritlarisch.wix.com/lab