Dr. Moshe Elkabets, from the Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics, Faculty of health sciences, is in the third and final year of his research career Development Award Grant from ICRF. His research group investigates new therapies for gynecological and head and neck cancers.
Funded by the israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), Dr. Elkabets's central project aims to understand the role of host cell (non-malignant cell) in tumor microenvironment after treatment with an FDA-approved drug called Erbitux (Cetuximab). Cetuximab is drug used for metastatic head and neck cancer patients, which inhibits the progression of the malignant disease in a fraction of patients.
Dr. Elkabets team have discovered a new mechanism of resistance to the Cetuximab drug in patients, and their next target is to use this new knowledge in order to improve the anti-tumor potential of Cetuximab in head and neck cancer by investigation of new drug combination.
Dr. Elkabets explains: "Specifically, we propose to elucidate the mechanisms that regulate the migration of stromal cells into the tumor site that limit the efficacy of Cetuximab. We speculate that blocking the migration or accumulation of those cells, can serve as a new treatment for patients with head and neck cancer."