The Dangoor Center for Personalized Medicine
We have all gone to the doctor, done the same blood tests and received the same medications and treatment. That is simply the way it has been for hundreds of years. But we also know that this "treat one-treat all" method doesn’t always work. Modern medicine is leaning to a much more personalized, and ultimately effective system, one where the patient's individual RNA and DNA are the determining factors for treating the specific patient.
Bar-Ilan University and its Dangoor Center for Personalized Medicine, under the able guidance and direction of VP for Research, Prof. Shulamit Michaeli, is proud to be among the nation's trailblazers in the field of precise individualized medical diagnosis and treatment. Using very sophisticated genetic testing, the Center aims to treat the patient- not just the disease. It is this profile that makes the difference on how patients will respond to treatments.
As a comprehensive university with strong research in medicine, life sciences as well as in social sciences (including the fields of psychology, sociology and social work), Bar-Ilan is uniquely positioned to lead the way to personal understanding, diagnosis and treatment in both physical and mental illness.
The initial focus of the center is based upon our existing strengths:
Microbiome research delving into understanding the enormity of the intestinal bacterial population’s contribution to our health and its influence on the development of disease. Research concentrates on the areas of vaccines and neurology, how the gut microbial population affects our behavior and leads to disorders, obesity and diabetes. Research also covers the development of normal pregnancy, the relationship between diseases, aging, and changes in the microbiome.
RNA therapeutics editing and modification - In our laboratories nanoparticles are being produced to silence genes in order to defeat cellular cancer, such as pancreatic cancer and lung cancer. Both of these are very aggressive and can be terminal. Nanoparticles are attached to RNA molecules that only cancer cells permit entry to, and silence only the relevant cells. Healthy cells are left unharmed. This exact navigation can be fine-tuned to attack only those diseases found in a specific patient. Bar-Ilan University is the hub of research in the field of RNA editing and understanding the role of modifications in both healthy and infirm individuals suffering from such ailments as cancer, diabetes and even psychiatric disease.
CRISPR technology – “molecular scissors” that enable the cutting of a defective gene on a DNA sequence and its replacement with a normal synthetic gene thus altering the DNA with high accuracy and efficiency levels, relatively quickly, and within a short timeframe.
Immunotherapy, Immune System Therapy – Developing new technologies that enable the early diagnosis of serious diseases and their treatment using T-Cells. Immunotherapy treatment is used to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and even depression. For example, in the Dangoor Center the researchers are developing imaging methods using gold nanoparticles that would identify which of the patients in different cancers would respond well to immunotherapy, a treatment that may replace or work together with chemotherapy, and save patients from the serious side effects associated with chemotherapy
All of these research fields use sophisticated techniques which are aimed at developing personalized applications of technology that takes research from the bench to the bedside, including:
The “DepressionMeter”, a computer application designed to diagnose the level of depression and to monitor the success in psychological and drug treatment for the progress of patients with the disease. The will develop computational tools to be used for ongoing evaluation and analysis of the effectiveness of personalized treatments; and a genetic information bank will be established which will provide an extensive platform for conducting various studies.
We predict that in the not so distant future, Bar-Ilan University researchers will be able to diagnose colon cancers, brain tumors and also breast cancers via a simple blood test, even before the diseases become fully blown illnesses. And when an illness is found, they will be able to target the genetic mutations that are at the core of the disease, with a cocktail of medications that will not have any side effects.