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January 27, 1995 - Image 58

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-01-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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At Springhouse,
Mom gets the assistance
I wish I had time
to give her.

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Blood Vessel Growth
Target Of Study

A

key

factor in the growth of
new blood vessels essen-
tial in the development of
both normal and malig-
nant tissues has been identified
in a Weizmann Institute study
published in a recent issue of Cell.
With regard to tumors, the for-
mation of new blood vessels al-
lows the malignant cells to
proliferate, enter the blood cir-
culation and travel to distant or-
gans. The Weizmann team has
found that a particular chain of
sugar molecules linked to a pro-
tein plays a central role in this
process. The scientists are now
attempting to design specific in-
hibitors of this chain that would
slow down blood-vessel formation
around the tumor, thereby re-
stricting its size and preventing
its metastatic growth.
The study was carried out by
Dr. Avner Yayon and doctoral
student David Aviezer of the In-
stitute's department of chemical
immunology, in collaboration
with Dr. Guido David of the Cen-
ter for Human Genetics in Leu-
ven, Belgium, and Dr. Magdalena
Eisinger of the American
Cyanamid Co. in Pearl River,
N.Y.
It has long been known that
blood-vessel formation, or angio-
genesis, is induced by a protein
known as fibroblast factor (FGF).
Four years ago Dr. Yayon found
that the FGF binds to cellular re-

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ceptors and induces cell prolifer-
ation only when it is attached to
specific protein-containing sugar
chains called proteoglycans. In
the current study the scientists
have identified a particular pro-
teoglycan, called perlecan, that
carries the chains most actively
involved in FGF binding. More-
over, perlecan was found to in-
duce FGF receptor activation and
angiogenesis even at extremely
low concentrations.

A particular chain of
sugar molecules
plays a central role.

These finding emerged from
experiments in which capsules
containing either perlecan by it-
self or a perlecan-FGF combina-
tion were introduced into animal
tissue. In both cases a solid, ex-
tensive network of blood vessels
developed.
This research was supported
in part by the Israeli Academy of
Sciences and the Humanities, the
Israel Cancer Research Fund, the
Minerva Foundation and the
United States-Israel Binational
Science Foundation. Dr. Yayon
is the incumbent of the Alvin and
Gertrude Levine Career Devel-
opment Chair of Cancer Re-
search. ❑

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Centers Of Excellence
Receive Study Grants

eizmann Institute re-
search into information
processing by the brain
and the properties of
electrons will be bolstered by two
research grants for centers of ex-
cellence, just awarded by the Is-
rael Science Foundation,
administered by the Israel Acad-
emy of Science and Humanities.
Centers of excellence at Israeli
institutions of higher learning —
five of which were created this
year — are established annually
on the basis of recommendations
by leading world experts in order
to promote scientific investiga-
tions at the highest possible lev-
el. Each center receives a
$900,000 research grant.
The Brain and Computation
project — conducted by four sub-
groups of scientists and coordi-
nated by Professor Shimon
Ullman of the Institute's depart-
ment of applied mathematics and

computer science — will focus on
clarifying how brain cells work
together to represent visual pat-
terns, such as simple shapes, in
the cortex. Another goal of the
project is to understand how dif-
ferent groups of brain cells inter-
act while performing perceptual
tasks, such as discriminating be-
tween various visual or tactile
patterns.
A unique feature of this re-
search is the close cooperation be-
tween neurobiologists on the one
hand, who will perform empiri-
cal observations of the brain, and
mathematicians and computer
scientists on the other hand, who
will develop computational mod-
els for interpreting these obser-
vations. Other unique aspects
include the focus on brain activ-
ity . at the level of cell networks
and the combination of different
techniques for recording such ac-
tivity.

N

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