Bar Ilan Professor Uri Nir

A compound that disables cancer cells, developed by a Bar-Ilan University researcher, has been named by Israel21C as the #1 scientific breakthrough of the year in Israel. Bar-Ilan Prof. Uri Nir identified an enzyme called FerT in the energy-generating mitochondria of metastatic cancer cells. When he targeted FerT in lab mice, the malignant cells soon died, preventing the cancer from metastasizing.

Using advanced chemical and robotic approaches, Nir’s lab team developed a synthetic compound, which caused a complete collapse of the entire mitochondria power station. “We have treated mice with metastatic cancer and this compound completely cured them with no adverse or toxic affect,” reported Nir. Phase 1 clinical trials are planned over the next 18 months.

Prof. Uri Nir is director of the Nano Medicine Center at the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA) and dean of the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences. Having revealed a “trio” of proteins that appear to play a pivotal role in the onset of various cancers, Nir is now dedicated to the development of novel anti-cancer drugs that will target these key regulators.

Other scientific breakthroughs on Israel21C’s top-13 list include a new screening of newborns for autism, the development of an artificial cornea, and the world’s first bone implants.

ISRAEL21C is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and the publisher of an English-language online news magazine recognized as the single most diverse and reliable source of news and information about 21st-century Israel.

Established in 1955, Bar-Ilan University is one of Israel’s leading institutions of higher education and the only one that combines cutting-edge scientific research with education steeped in Jewish values.


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