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Identification, isolation  and characterization  desert plant compounds with potential anticancer and anti inflammatory  activity


Dr.  Matar Khalid- TRD-Center

Dr. Jacov .D.    Ben-gurion  University


A large collection of plants  growing in the Region )a collection of over 400 plant species) will  be  examined for  a  potential anticancer and anti inflammatory  activity. For this purpose, a solvent extracts will  be prepared from these  plants from different plant parts. The extracts will be screened for cancer-cell cytotoxicity and on a well-defined molecular target in a moderate throughput cell-based assay system.

We will detect the inhibition of gene transcription by NF-kB, a well defined regulator of cell division, apoptosis and differentiation which facilitates human malignancies and anticancer drug-resistance .

In these research, we  will fractionate and purify the active extract  discovered based on this assay and elucidate  the chemical structure of active compounds .  Following fractionation and structural elucidation, we will characterize the effects of novel pure compounds in cell culture and validate their effectiveness in vivo. The fractionation and purification strategy will utilize modern technology and technical support available in our institutions and based on the experience gained by us in previous similar projects.

 Objectives and expected significance of the research

The search for natural products with anticancer activities is based today on the ability to establish in-vitro assays, which exploit molecular alterations identified in tumor cells. Purification protocols of active compounds are based on these assays and serve as a basis to validate their effectiveness in-vivo.

Our objectives are as follows:

  1. A concerted effort to screen  desert plants extracts collected in the Region

      A whole cell-based reporter assay will be used for primary screening of these     

      extracts: inhibition of NK-kB transcriptional activating activity.

  1. Purification and elucidation of chemical structures of compounds from active extracts.
  2. Evaluation of the therapeutic potential of selected pure compounds by quantitating effects on proliferation, cell cycle progression, apoptosis and in the future (not in the scope of this proposal), the ability to inhibit tumor growth in mice bearing established human tumor xenografts.