Dr. Meital Gal-Tanamy joined the BIU School of Medicine following two prestigious post-doctoral fellowships, the first in the Department of Virology and Immunology at the University of Texas and the second in the Felsenstein Medical Research Center at the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel-Aviv University. Her research at BIU focuses on developing a vaccine against the Hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Over 180 million people worldwide are infected with Hepatitis C virus (HCV), and this virus is a major cause of chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HCC represents the fifth most common cancer worldwide and the second cause of cancer mortality in males. Dr. Gal-Tanamy’s lab leads research that will contribute to a rational vaccine design against HCV through exploring the antibody response to this infectious agent. Meital’s lab also explores the changes that HCV causes to the structure of the genome, looking for those which are linked to the onset of liver cancer.
Additionally, Gal-Tanamy and her team evaluate the potential of epigenetic drugs to stop the progression to cancer by reversing the changes made by HCV to the genome. This work will attempt to harness knowledge of cancer origin to determine effective treatment. Her laboratory works in cooperation with Beilinson Medical Center and BIU affiliated hospitals in Nahariya and Tzefat.
The strategies employed by Dr. Gal-Tanamy and her researchers should prove helpful in preventing and treating HCV-related liver disease, a major milestone in the long battle against this virus and related diseases.
Annual Activity Report, March 2017 - The interplay between epigenetic and genomic signatures of Hepatitis C virus in hepatocellular carcinoma
Through epigenetic analysis, we have unraveled both known and novel pathways that are dysregulated by the Hepatitis C (HCV) and Hepatitis B (HBV) viruses. These epigenetic alternations leave a signature on the host chromatin that leads to the onset of Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
We might be able to use the results of this study to predict an individual’s sensitivity to existing drugs, or to design prognostic assays for the early detection of HCC. Moreover, since epigenetic changes are potentially reversible, this research may open new avenues to revert the oncogenic effects of chronic hepatitis infections and to prevent HCC.