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SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar series 2014-01-27

Israel Vlodavsky

Cancer and Vascular Biology Research Center, The Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Haifa, Israel

Israel Vlodavsky received his B.Sc and M.Sc. from the Hebrew University and Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute. In 2002, he was recruited from the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center to the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) where he established the Cancer & Vascular Biology Research Center. His discovery of the extracellular matrix as a reservoir for bioactive molecules provided the basis for the current appreciation of the tumor microenvironment and its significance in cancer progression and treatment. He became an honorary doctor at Medical Faculty of UU in 2013.

“Heparanase: from basic research to therapeutic applications”


Heparan sulfate proteoglycans provide a storage depot for heparin-binding molecules in the tumor microenvironment and decisively regulate their accessibility and function. While the causal involvement of tumor cell heparanase, the sole heparan sulfate degrading endoglycosidase, in tumor angiogenesis and metastasis is well documented, our current studies highlight the contribution of heparanase residing in the tumor microenvironment and host tissues. Heparanase is also causally involved in inflammation, diabetes and kidney dysfunction, and hence is a valid target for drug development. Non-anticoagulant species of heparin inhibit heparanase enzymatic activity and tumor growth and are being examined in clinical trials. Given the significance of mAb in the treatment of human diseases, we have generated heparanase neutralizing mAb and demonstrated their anti-cancerous activity. Newly resolved structural features of the heparanase protein provide a strong basis for an ongoing rational design of heparanase inhibitors, including small molecules.

Host: Jin-Ping Li

Organizer: SciLifeLab