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Discovery and Screening of Anti-Cancer Agents laboratory

Dr. Jamal Mahajna

Contact Dr. Jamal Mahajna

Our main interest in the cancer drug discovery program revolves around cancer drug resistance, and in particular, in Ph+ leukemia. In general, Ph+ leukemia drug resistance to therapy might be due to mutations within BCR/ABL or associated with disease progression that is independent of BCR/ABL mutations. To overcome drug resistance caused by point mutations, specially the "gatekeeper" T315I mutation, we explored modulators of the Myristoyl Binding Pocket (MBP) within the BCR/ABL {Khamaisie et al., 2011; Najajreh et al., 2013} and combinations approaches utilizing AKIs with allosteric inhibitors {Khateb et al., 2012; Mian et al., 2012}. Currently, we are addressing residual disease, cell-adhesion mediated resistance, and disease progression of Ph+ leukemia which is independent of BCR/ABL mutations. Specifically, we are exploring the interaction between the Ph+ leukemic cells to the bone marrow microenvironment and studding the role of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) activators in mediating homing and adhesion to the bone marrow, mediated by affecting the expression of CD44, CD184, and N-cadherin that contribute to residual disease, stimulate drug resistance, and accelerate disease progression in most hematopoietic malignancies. Our long term goal is to get a better understanding of the role of EMT activators in the biology of Ph+ leukemia, especially in the regulation of bone marrow homing and adhesion of Ph positive leukemia cells which play a significant role in disease progression and drug resistance. Achieving our goals will be utilized to develop better diagnostic and therapeutic tools for Ph+ leukemia and potentially to other hematological malignancies.




1997 -1998 Technion- Israeli Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel Sabbatical Biology Department,. Hosted by Prof. Gera Nufeild, Technion, Haifa , Israel.
1987-1991 Oncogene Science Inc. Uniondale, New York, USA PostDoc 2 Development of cell-based transcription screens
1986-1987 Biolume Ltd., Haifa, Israel Postdoc 1 Genetic analysis of the bioluminescence system of Vibrio fischeri.
1982-1986 Hebrew University in Jerusalem Ph.D. Dept. Molecular Genetics, Amos Oppenheim's Laboratory. Regulation of Lambda Gene Expression

Academic and research positions


2011-present Tel Hai College Head Nutritional Sciences Department
2010-present Tel-Hai College Senior Lecturer Department of Biotechnology
2005-2008 MyCure, Meytav Technological Incubator, P.O.B 408, Kiryat Shmona 11013, Israel Founder and Chief Scientific Officer
2005-2009 Tel-Hai College Lecturer Department of Biotechnology
2001-2003 PlasaMed, Misgav Technological Incubator. Israel Chief Scientific Officer
2002-present MIGAL, Kiryat Shmona, Israel Research Investigator and Department Head Cancer Drug Discovery program
2001-2002 The Galilee Society, Shefa-Amr, Israel Scientific Director Regional R&D Center
1998-2000 The Galilee Society, Shefa-Amr, Israel Research Investigator Regional R&D Center
1995-1997 Oncogene Science Inc. Uniondale, New York, USA Research Investigator Cancer Department, group leader of apoptosis and tyrosine kinases drug discovery programs
1991-1995 Oncogene Science Inc. Uniondale, New York, USA. Senior Research Scientist Cancer Department, group leader of retinoids and angiogenesis drug discovery programs.


Post-graduate and post-doctoral research training


Laboratories and research projects


Business opportunities and technology transfer