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This year the School of Pharmacy at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem received three scholarships to be awarded to three outstanding PhD research students to assist them in their research work for a period of four years.
List of winners and their research projects:
Ischemic stroke is one of the most frequent causes of death. However, the pathological mechanism of ischemia which induces brain injury and causes cell death is not fully understood. Many attempts to develop various treatments have failed in the clinical and pre-clinical phases. Therefore, new approaches are needed. One pathological effect which occurs during ischemia is oxidative stress, which causes cell death. As part of Adi’s research, she is investigating the neuroprotective effect and the cellular and molecular mechanism of different compounds on ischemic neuronal cultures using an in vitro model. This model provides information about potency, efficacy, and selectivity of new, innovative compounds which can then be improved, synthesized and potentially lead to the development of new drugs. Currently, Adi is investigating the protective effects of anti-oxidant derivatives and exploring the role and the involvement of the new oxidative stress sensor during ischemia.
In future projects, Adi would like to investigate the mechanism by which poly-unsaturated fatty acids confer protection to ischemic neuronal cultures, in order to shed more light on the processes which occur during ischemia.
Gil's research project deals with the development and optimization of liposomal delivery systems containing fluorescent quantum dots (QDs) for the imaging of inflammation related pathologies. QDs have a unique optical characteristic, such as high fluorescent intensity and stability in comparison to conventional organic dyes, thus increasing and improving imaging capability.
Gil's study compares several liposomal-QD formulations with different phyisicochemical properties and their ability to effectively accumulate in the inflamed region. He has successfully developed multi-purpose formulations, which clearly showed a significant amount of accumulation and retention in the inflamed artery in rat's vascular injury model (restenosis). In contrast, no fluorescent signal was detected following treatment with free QDs.
In continuing projects, Gil would like to explore the mechanism in which liposomal QDs reach the site of inflammation and the role of phagocytic cells in that process.
Dabigatran etexilate; rivaroxaban; apixaban are the new oral anticoagulants (NOACs) that have emerged as alternative vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) for thrombo-embolic and stroke prevention in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF). Although very promising in many regards (predictable effect without need for monitoring, fewer food and drug interactions, shorter plasma half-life, and an improved efficacy/safety ratio), questions are arising regarding their safety and efficacy such as: What is their comparative effectiveness and safety in conditions that elevate the drug concentration like renal failure or taking medication that elevates drug concentration or both? Or, what is the comparative effectiveness and safety of NOACs in elderly patients with high morbidity (high CHA2DS2-VASc score)?
The AF guidelines refer to the NOAC's as a single group and don't prefer one drug to another 3. However, the different drugs display different sensitivity to renal dysfunction, reduced body weight and drug interactions. Are there differences in the safety profile of the NOAC's? Until now there is no "head to head" study.
Bruriah's research is being carried out in collaboration with the Heart Institute and the Department of Internal Medicine at both Hadassa Ein Kerem and Hadassa Mount Scopus. Prospective collaborative studies will be carried out on patients admitted to the hospitals and treated with dabigatrane.