The findings, led by Hebrew University graduate student Chen Hener-Katz and involving a collaboration between Prof. Assaf Friedler of the Hebrew University and Prof. Atan Gross of the Weizmann Institute, were published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in an article titled ”Molecular Basis of the Interaction between Proapoptotic Truncated BID (tBID) Protein and Mitochondrial Carrier Homologue 2 (MTCH2) Protein.”
The discovery by Prof. Gross of the MTCH2 protein as well as its relationship to tBID, allowed the research team to develop a technique that mimics apoptosis.
Programmed cell death, or Apoptosis, is a critical defense mechanism against the development of abnormal cells like cancer, according toHealthCanal.com. “Cancer cells usually avoid this process due to mutations in the genes that encode the relevant proteins,” it continues. “The result is that the cancer cells survive and take over while healthy cells die.”
”These protein segments could be the basis of future anti-cancer therapies in cases where the mechanism of natural cell death is not working properly,” said Prof. Friedler, head of the school of chemistry at the Hebrew University. ”We have just begun to uncover the hidden potential in the interaction between these proteins. This is an important potential target for the development of anticancer drugs that will stimulate apoptosis by interfering with its regulation.”
The potential ramifications of this discovery was described in the Weizmann Institute’s 2010 Update on Cancer Research: “Scientists can use this newly gained knowledge to devise novel therapeutic methods. If clinicians could regulate the production and activity of MTCH2, they would be able, for instance, to ‘turn on’ mitochondria apoptosis in cancerous cells and turn it ‘off’ in the brain cells of patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.”
Two Israeli films are headed to this summer’s Locarno film festival: “Not in Tel Aviv,” a film by Israeli director Nony Geffen and “The Pit,” a short film by Itamar Lapid, will compete at the Swiss event this August.
Held annually, the Locarno festival is the longest-running film fest in Europe after those in Cannes and Venice.
Geffen, who has no formal film training, wrote, directed and stars in “Not in Tel Aviv” – a low-budget film that centers on a young teacher who is laid-off due to budget cuts and reacts by kidnapping one of his students.
An off-kilter love story develops, and after initially resisting her abduction, the student falls for Geffen’s character and ultimately helps him win over his childhood sweetheart.
“Not in Tel Aviv” was produced by Itai Tamir with funding from the Israel Film Fund. It premiered at the Cinema South festival in Sderot, where it clinched first place in the category devoted to low-budget independent feature films.
Itamar Lapid’s “The Pit” will compete in the shorts category at the Locarno festival. The film focuses on two radical youths who develop relationships with two migrant workers and confront their boss, who has confiscated some of his employees’ passports.
Lapid’s brother, Nadav, clinched the Special Jury Prize at last year’s Locarno film festival with his film “Policeman.”
Shay Yalin, 38, an Israeli living in the Philippines, was named the winner of a recent international competition looking for “green” cell-phone games.
Yalin moved Southeast Asia as part of his job. The self-proclaimed avid recycler came up with a concept for a new mobile devise-based game meant to encourage the recycling of plastic waste.
The contest was promoted as part of Rio+20 – the UN summit on sustainable development that was held in Brazil in June.
The judging panel was comprised of senior executives from industry giants such as Google, Volvo and Nike, and the top ideas were introduced in the summit – an honor Yalin was oblivious to.
“I actually forgot all about it, until the letter telling me I had won came,” he told Ynet.
The game – “PET Race” – is both web-based and cell-based and promotes a weekly contest for keen players.
Yalin’s concept entails having major soft drink companies hold individual contests focusing on the recycling of bottles. Players would be able to register online or via the app.
Each contest would last up to one week and the players would have to update their accounts with the number of bottles collected. At the end of each contest, the bottles will be delivered to designated collection points, where the winners will also collect their prizes.
Yalin told Ynet that he has been contacted by several companies seeking to make the concept a reality.
For the second time running, the Israeli Any.Do has been included in the TechCrunch blog’s list of the 20 best mobile apps.
Any.Do allows users to manage their daily schedules by creating a new “to-do” item via voice command, turning unanswered calls into tasks, and synchronizing with other management tools like Google Tasks. The company has won accolades for its simple, intuitive app, as well as for a unique characteristic: tasks can be deleted by being marked or by a slight shake of the phone.
Any.Do launched the app at the end of last year and the iPhone version in June 2012
The app is in impressive company. Out of the 1.2 million mobile applications available for iPhone and Android devices, well-known apps such as Draw Something, Airbnb, Angry Birds in Space, and Instagram also made the blog’s Top 20 list.
The company, founded by Omer Perchik, Yoni Lindenfeld and Itay Kahanahas in 2010, has thus far raised $1 million from the Innovation Endeavors fund, run by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and Dror Berman, as well as from Blumberg and Genesis funds. It is currently in an additional round of fundraising.