Prior to joining Bar-Ilan University’s School of Medicine in 2011, Dr. Hava Gil-Henn performed two postdoctoral fellowships at the Yale University School of Medicine. She served her first fellowship in the Pharmacology Department exploring signal transduction. For her second fellowship, Dr. Gil-Henn joined the Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry Department where she focused on the molecular mechanisms of cancer metastasis. Dr. Gil-Henn also spent one year as a visiting scientist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, focusing on the in vivo mechanisms of cancer metastasis.
Dr. Gil-Henn and her team use a combination of molecular biology, cell biology, high-resolution imaging, proteomics, genomics, structural biology, and in vivo models of cancer metastasis to identify the proteins and signaling pathways that contribute to cancer’s ability to invade healthy tissue and the process of becoming metastatic. Her goal is to use this information to develop diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic approaches to cancer.
Primary tumors are responsible for only a small percentage of cancer deaths and can often be removed without further relapse. The complications associated with distant metastasis, however, are the primary cause of cancer mortality. Most cancer treatments attempt to shrink or slow tumor growth, but no treatment exists at present that permanently eradicates metastasis.
A better understanding of the molecular, cellular, and physiological conditions that initiate metastasis are valuable for identifying and improving outcomes of patients who suffer from metastatic cancer.
“Our work aims to develop a method for identifying the tumors that have increased likelihood to disseminate and to tailor anti-metastatic therapeutic intervention that is specific for the particular patient,” says Dr. Hava Gil-Henn. “We aim to use the information gained in our studies in order to develop both diagnostic and prognostic tools for assessing the metastatic potential of specific tumors, as well as new therapeutic tools to block cancer metastasis.”
Dr. Gil-Henn’s laboratory has identified several novel approaches, and her team is now testing these on patient tumor samples with the long-term vision of offering more effective diagnoses and therapies for cancer patients in Israel and worldwide.
Annual Activity Report, March 2017 - Development of diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools to block breast cancer metastasis
Our work aims to 1) develop a method for identifying cancer tumors that have an increased likelihood of spreading to other parts of the body, and 2) to tailor anti-metastatic therapeutic intervention based on unique genomic qualities in the patient’s DNA and tumor.
Research in our laboratory uses a combination of molecular biology, cell biology, high-resolution imaging, proteomics, genomics, structural biology, and in vivo models of cancer metastasis in order to elucidate the proteins and signaling pathways that contribute to the tissue invasiveness and metastatic potential of cancer cells. We are aiming to use the information gained in our studies in order to develop both diagnostic and prognostic tools for assessing the metastatic potential of specific tumors as well as new therapeutic tools to block cancer metastasis.