Prof. Jacob Pitcovski

Prof. Jacob Pitcovski
Research Group Leader
vaccine; tumor; virology; immunology; poultry

Professor Pitcovski joins the European collaboration for developing vaccine adjuvants (ENOVA)

Professor Jacob Pitcovski, head of the Virology and Vaccine Development laboratory at MIGAL Galilee Research Institute has joined the European Network of Vaccine Adjuvants (ENOVA), which brings together European experts and stakeholders working in different areas of adjuvant and vaccine research and development, including both prophylactic and therapeutic applications as well as human and veterinary vaccines. ENOVA is funded by COST through the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020 and is coordinated by the Vaccine Formulation Institute. The goals of the network are to facilitate communication and the exchange of information on adjuvants and vaccine formulation among its members, to ensure that new discoveries are widely disseminated so that their potential can be of optimal benefit, to promote the best use of existing adjuvant technologies, and to encourage and support the development of novel adjuvants and vaccines. Currently organizations from 28 countries joined ENOVA.

1. Targeted microbeads for attraction and induction of specific innate immune response in the tumor microenvironment
Cancer immunotherapy is aimed at eliminating tumors by using components of the immune system. However, a major drawback is the presence of molecules and cells (e.g. tumor-associated macrophages and myeloid-derived suppressor cells) of the immune system in the tumor microenvironment that contribute to the tumor's development and the suppression of activated immune cells. The aim of the research is to use micro-particles that carry anti-tumor antibodies (e.g. anti-HER2) and an inducer of the innate immune cells (e.g. TLR7 ligand) to target the tumor microenvironment and to revert the activity of the innate immune cells from pro- into a desired anti-tumor response.

2. Oncolytic viruses for cancer treatment
The use of viruses that attack specifically tumor cells (oncolytic viruses) has gain achievements at the last decades. However, a major obstacle in this approach as a treatment of cancer is in the immune response raised against the viruses, which limit the period of treatment. In our laboratory new oncolytic viruses were discovered which can overcome the anti-viral immune response, enabling continuous treatment of cancer.

3. Development of veterinary viral vaccines
The major solution for viral diseases is preventive vaccines. Poultry viruses' antigenicity is frequently changed and as a result the vaccine lost its activity and new vaccines to the same pathogens should be produced. In our laboratory three avian viruses, Newcastle disease virus, Infectious bronchitis, avian reovirus and avian influenza are studied. The variation in RNA sequences and its influence on the efficacy of the vaccines is studied with the intention to develop broad spectrum vaccines.

4. Development of non-antibiotic therapy for mastitis
Clinical mastitis is mostly caused by Escherichia coli, Streptococcus dysgalactiae and staphylococci bacteria and is usually treated with antibiotics. Although effective, this treatment has several disadvantages. The aim of this study was to develop an immunologically based treatment (Y-complex) for mastitis. In controlled and field studies, Y-complex was as effective as antibiotics in eliminating bacteria, but significantly less milk was discarded from cows treated with Y-complex as compared to antibiotics. Y-complex was proven to be safe and effective, and may serve as a new approach for the treatment of mastitis.

5. Passive vaccination as a treatment for antibiotic-resistant bacteria
Passive vaccination may be a solution for the treatment of a wide range of diseases caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, one of this strategy's limitations is the source of the antibodies (Abs), which must be human, or humanized. Passive vaccination with Abs extracted from animal serum or chicken egg yolk is inefficient due to Abs antigenicity: the foreign Abs provoke an immune response against themselves, which limits their efficacy and may cause adverse effects, such as potentially fatal anaphylactic shock and serum sickness. It was found in our lab that following injection of Abs coated with mannoseamine-biotin adduct (MBA), immunologic response to such coated Abs was reduced or eliminated, while antigen recognition was preserved. The aim of this study is to produce Abs in chicken against MRSA in order to test, in vitro and in vivo, the feasibility and safety of passive vaccination as a treatment for infectious diseases. In a current research the mechanisms by which a novel masking molecule, MBA, contributes to the reduction in immune response toward the coated protein is studied.

Scientific Publications

Endotoxin-free gram-negative bacterium as a system for production and secretion of recombinant proteins.

Shahar E, Emquies K, Bloch I, Eliahu D, Ben Adiva R, Pitcovski J, Yadid I.
Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2023 Jan;107(1):287-298. doi: 10.1007/s00253-022-12295-1. Epub 2022 Nov 29.
PMID: 36445389

Oral subunit SARS-CoV-2 vaccine induces systemic neutralizing IgG, IgA and cellular immune responses and can boost neutralizing antibody responses primed by an injected vaccine.

Pitcovski J, Gruzdev N, Abzach A, Katz C, Ben-Adiva R, Brand-Shwartz M, Yadid I, Ratzon-Ashkenazi E, Emquies K, Israeli H, Haviv H, Rapoport I, Bloch I, Shadmon R, Eitan Z, Eliahu D, Hilel T, Laster M, Kremer-Tal S, Byk-Tennenbaum T, Shahar E.
Vaccine. 2022 Feb 16;40(8):1098-1107. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2022.01.025. Epub 2022 Jan 19.
PMID: 35078662 Free PMC article.

Protection against avian coronavirus conferred by oral vaccination with live bacteria secreting LTB-fused viral proteins.

Lublin A, Katz C, Gruzdev N, Yadid I, Bloch I, Farnoushi Y, Simanov L, Berkowitz A, Elyahu D, Pitcovski J, Shahar E.

Vaccine. 2022 Jan 31;40(5):726-733. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2021.12.053. Epub 2021 Dec 30.
PMID: 34998606 Free PMC article.

Newcastle disease virus: is an updated attenuated vaccine needed?

Shahar E, Haddas R, Goldenberg D, Lublin A, Bloch I, Bachner Hinenzon N, Pitcovski J.
Avian Pathol. 2018 Oct;47(5):467-478. doi: 10.1080/03079457.2018.1488240. Epub 2018 Jul 5.
PMID: 29897786

Pair-epitopes vaccination: enabling offspring vaccination in the presence of maternal antibodies

Pitcovski, J., Pitcovski, E., Goldenberg, d., and Shahar, E.
Avian Pathology 2017 Volume Accepted

Review: Melanoma antigens and related immunological markers

Pitcovski, J., Shahar, E., Aizenshtein, E. and Gorodetsky, R.
Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology 2017 Volume 115 Pages 36-49

Variation among replicates can influence repeatability

Jacob Pitcovski, Ehud Shahar and Avigdor Cahaner
In Stepping in the Same River Twice: Replication in Biological Research ,2017, Ayelet Shavit and Aaron M. Ellison Ed. ,Yale University Press , Pages

Formation of multimeric antibodies for self-delivery of active monomers

Dekel Y, Machluf Y, Gefen T, Eidelshtein G, A Kotlyar, Bram Y, Shahar E, Reslane F, Aizenshtein E and Pitcovski J.
Drug Delivery 2017 Volume 24 Issue 1 Pages 199-208

Immune modulation and treatment of Human papilloma virus-related warts by energetics of living systems acupuncture

Brustin, R., Toledano, M, Geffen, T., Goona, R., Hochberg , m., Kreisberg, B., Murad, S., and Pitcovski, J.
Medical acupuncture 2017 Volume 29 Pages 145-154

Practical aspects in the use of passive immunization as an alternative to attenuated viral vaccines.

Aizenshtein, E., Yosipovich, R, Kvint, M, Shadmon, R, Krispel, S, Shuster, E, Finger, A, Banet-Noach, C, Shahar, E and Jacob Pitcovski
Vaccine 2016 Volume 34 Pages 2513?2518

Optimized polypeptide for a subunit vaccine against avian reovirus.

Goldenberg D, Lublin A, Rosenbluth E, Heller E.D, Pitcovski J.
Vaccine 2016 Volume 34 Pages 3178-3183

Immunological complex for enhancement of innate immune response in passive vaccination

E. Aizenshtein; Y. Pinchasov; E. Morag; G. Leitner; Y. Shpanir; D. Reimond; J. Pitcovski
Vaccine 2013 Volume 31 Issue 4 Pages 626-631

Immunotherapy of mastitis

G. Leitner; Y. Pinchasov; E. Morag; Y. Spanier; S. Jacoby; D. Eliau; J. Pitcovski
Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 2013 Volume 153 Pages 209-216

The impact of PEGylation on protein immunogenicity

T. Gefen; J. Vaya; S. Khatib; N. Harkevich; F. Artoul; E. D. Heller; J. Pitcovski; E. Aizenshtein
International Immunopharmacology 2013 Volume 15 Issue 2 Pages 254-259

Immune responses to mucosal vaccination by the recombinant S1 and N proteins of infectious bronchitis virus

R. Meir; S. Krispel; L. Simanov; D. Eliahu; O. Maharat; J. Pitcovski
Viral Immunology 2012 Volume 25 Issue 1 Pages 55-62

Differentiating infected from vaccinated animals, and among virulent prototypes of reovirus

D. Goldenberg; A. Lublin; E. Rosenbluth; E. D. Heller; J. Pitcovski
Journal of Virological Methods 2011 Volume 177 Issue 1 Pages 80-86

Wide-range protection against avian reovirus conferred by vaccination with representatives of four defined genotypes

A. Lublin; D. Goldenberg; E. Rosenbluth; E. D. Heller; J. Pitcovski
Vaccine 2011 Volume 29 Issue 47 Pages 8683-8688

Targeted microbeads for attraction and induction of specific innate immune response in the tumor microenvironment

E. Shahar; R. Gorodetsky; E. Gaberman; E. Aizenshtein; J. Pitcovski
Vaccine 2010 Volume 28 Issue 45 Pages 7279-7287

Transcutaneous immunization with hydrophilic recombinant gp100 protein induces antigen-specific cellular immune response

G. Eisenberg; A. Machlenkin; S. Frankenburg; A. Mansura; J. Pitcovski; E. Yefenof; T. Peretz; M. Lotem
Cellular Immunology 2010 Volume 266 Issue 1 Pages 98-103

Adsoption of two vaccine-related proteins to montmorillonite and organo-montmorillonite

G. Rytwo; A. Mendelovits; D. Eliyahu; J. Pitcovski; E. Aizenshtein
Applied Clay Science 2010 Volume 50 Issue 4 Pages 569-575

Coated cross-species antibodies by mannosamine-biotin adduct confer protection against snake venom without eliciting humoral immune response

T. Gefen; J. Pitcovski; J. Vaya; S. Khatib; S. Krispel; E. D. Heller; E. Gaberman; R. Gorodetsky; E. Aizenshtein
Vaccine 2010 Volume 28 Issue 51 Pages 8197-8202

Genetic and antigenic characterization of sigma C protein from avian reovirus

D. Goldenberg; M. Pasmanik-Chor; M. Pirak; N. Kass; A. Lublin; A. Yeheskel; D. Heller; J. Pitcovski
Avian Pathology 2010 Volume 39 Issue 3 Pages 189-199

Mannosamine-biotin as a novel masking agent for coating IgG for immune response silencing and augmentation of antibody-antigen interaction

J. Vaya; E. Aizenshtein; S. Khatib; T. Gefen; M. Fassler; R. Musa; S. Krispel; J. Pitcovski
Vaccine 2009 Volume 27 Issue 49 Pages 6869-6876

Capture of tumor cell membranes by trogocytosis facilitates detection and isolation of tumor-specific functional CTLs

A. Machlenkin; R. Uzana; S. Frankenburg; G. Eisenberg; L. Eisenbach; J. Pitcovski; R. Gorodetsky; A. Nissan; T. Peretz; M. Lotem
Cancer Research 2008 Volume 68 Issue 6 Pages 2006-2013

Recombinant egg drop syndrome subunit vaccine offers an alternative to virus propagation in duck eggs

B. Gutter; E. Fingerut; G. Gallili; D. Eliahu; B. Perelman; A. Finger; J. Pitcovski
Avian Pathology 2008 Volume 37 Issue 1 Pages 33-37