Prof. Jamal Mahajna

Dr. Jamal Mahajna
Associate Professor
Research Group Leader
Research Interests:

Our research interste revolved around natural products who exihibit anti-cancer activity. Our main focus is in overcoming chemoresistance in cancer and in particular, ovarian cancer and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). We are interested in overcoming chemoresistance as results of alteration within the cancer cells or that mediated by the tumor microenvironments.

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.

Scientific Publications

The potential use of natural products to negate hepatic, renal and neuronal toxicity induced by cancer therapeutics.

Prša P, Karademir B, Biçim G, Mahmoud H, Dahan I, Yalçın AS, Mahajna J, Milisav I.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2020 Mar;173:113551. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2019.06.007. Epub 2019 Jun 8. Review

Ectopic Expression of Snail and Twist in Ph+ Leukemia Cells Upregulates CD44 Expression and Alters Their Differentiation Potential

Kidan N, Khamaisie H, Ruimi N, Roitman S, Eshel E, Dally N, Ruthardt M, Mahajna J.
In J Cancer ,2017, Ed. , , Pages 3952-3968

Safety of herbal medicine use during chemotherapy in patients with ovarian cancer: a "bedside-to-bench" approach

Ben-Arye E, Lavie O, Samuels N, Khamaisie H, Schiff E, Gressel Raz O, Mahajna J.
Medical Oncology 2017 Volume 34 Issue 4 Pages 54

Exploring an herbal "wonder cure" for cancer: a multidisciplinary approach.

Ben-Arye E, Mahajna J, Aly R, Ali-Shtayeh MS, Bentur Y, Lev E, Deng G, Samuels N.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2016 Volume 142 Issue 7 Pages 1499-508

Platinum (IV)-fatty acid conjugates overcome inherently and acquired Cisplatin resistant cancer cell lines: an in-vitro study

Ratzon E, Najajreh Y, Salem R, Khamaisie H, Ruthardt M, Mahajna J.
BMC Cancer 2016 Volume 16 Issue 1 Pages 140

The anti-proliferative and anti-androgenic activity of different pomegranate accessions.

Orgil O, Spector L, Holland D, Mahajna J, Amir R.
Journal of Functional Foods 2016 Volume 26 Pages 517?528

Sustained Proliferation in Cancer: Mechanisms and Novel Therapeutic Targets

Feitelson, M., Arzumanyan, A., Kulathinal, R., Blain, S., Holcombe, R., Mahajna, J., et al.,
Semin Cancer Biol. 2015 Volume 35 Issue supplement Pages S25?S54

The antioxidative and anti-proliferative potential of non-edible organs of the pomegranate fruit and tree.

Orgil, O, Schwartz, E, Matityahu, I, Mahajna, J. and Amir,R.
LWT - Food Science and Technology 2014 Volume 58 Issue 2 Pages 571-577

Natural products as potential cancer therapy enhancers: A preclinical update.

Agbarya, A., Ruimi, N., Epelbaum, R., Ben-Arye, E. and Mahajna, J.
SAGE Open Medicine 2014 Volume 2 Pages 1-12

Oleylamine-carbonyl-valinol inhibits auto-phosphorylation activity of native and T315I mutated Bcr-Abl, and exhibits selectivity towards oncogenic Bcr-Abl in SupB15 ALL cell lines

Y. Najajreh; H. Khamaisie; N. Ruimi; S. Khatib; J. Katzhendler; M. Ruthardt; J. Mahajna
Molecular Biology Reports 2013 Volume 40 Issue 3 Pages 2205-2213

The expression of iNOS and nitrotyrosine in colitis and colon cancer in humans

E. Gochman; J. Mahajna; P. Shenzer; A. Dahan; A. Blatt; R. Elyakim; A. Z. Reznick
Acta Histochemica 2012 Volume 114 Issue 8 Pages 827-835

Allosteric inhibition enhances the efficacy of ABL kinase inhibitors to target unmutated BCR-ABL and BCR-ABL-T315I

A. A. Mian; A. Metodieva; S. Badura; M. Khateb; N. Ruimi; Y. Najajreh; O. G. Ottmann; J. Mahajna; M. Ruthardt
BMC Cancer 2012 Volume 12

Overcoming Bcr-Abl T315I mutation by combination of GNF-2 and ATP competitors in an Abl-independent mechanism

M. Khateb; N. Ruimi; H. Khamisie; Y. Najajreh; A. Mian; A. Metodieva; M. Ruthardt; J. Mahajna
BMC Cancer 2012 Volume 12

p185BCR/ABL has a lower sensitivity than p210BCR/ABL to the allosteric inhibitor GNF-2 in Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphatic leukemia

A. A. Mian; A. Metodieva; Y. Najajreh; O. G. Ottmann; J. Mahajna; M. Ruthardt
Haematologica 2012 Volume 97 Issue 2 Pages 251-257

NF-κB activation by peroxynitrite through IκBα-dependent phosphorylation versus nitration in colon cancer cells

E. Gochman; J. Mahajna; A. Z. Reznick
Anticancer Research 2011 Volume 31 Issue 5 Pages 1607-1617

Oleic acid is the active component in the mushroom Daedalea gibbosa inhibiting Bcr-Abl kinase autophosphorylation activity

H. Khamaisie; S. Sussan; M. Tal; Y. Najajreh; M. Ruthardt; J. Mahajna
Anticancer Research 2011 Volume 31 Issue 1 Pages 177-183

A dual mechanism of NF-?B activation by peroxynitrite through p38 MAP kinase dependent I?B? phosphorylation, versus I?B? nitration in colon cancer cells.

Gochman, E., Mahajna, J. & Reznick, A.
Anticancer Research 2011 Volume 31 Pages 1607-1617

Targeting the oligomerization of BCR/ABL by membrane permeable competitive peptides inhibits the proliferation of Philadelphia Chromosome positive leukemic cells

A. A. Mian; M. Schüll; C. Oancea; Y. Najajreh; J. Mahajna; A. Goldblum; O. G. Ottmann; T. Beissert; M. Ruthardt
Open Hematology Journal 2011 Volume 5 Issue 1 Pages 21-27

Crude extracts from the Culinary-medicinal Mushroom Coprinus comatus as Natural Anti-androgenic Modulators. Integrative Cancer Therapies

Dotan, N., Wasser, S.P. & Mahajna, J.
Integrative Cancer Therapies 2011 Volume 10 Pages 148-159.

The culinary-medicinal mushroom Coprinus comatus as a natural antiandrogenic modulator

N. Dotan; S. P. Wasser; J. Mahajna
Integrative Cancer Therapies 2011 Volume 10 Issue 2 Pages 148-159

Inhibition of the androgen receptor activity by coprinus comatus substances

N. Dotan; S. P. Wasser; J. Mahajna
Nutrition and Cancer 2011 Volume 63 Issue 8 Pages 1316-1327

The Shaggy Inc Cap medicinal mushroom, Coprinus comatus (O.F.Mull.: Fr.) Pers. (Agaricomycetideae) substances interfere with H2o2 induction of the NF-κB pathway through inhibition of IκBα phosphorylation in MCF7 breast cancer cells

M. D. Asatiani; S. P. Wasser; E. Nevo; N. Ruimi; J. Mahajna; A. Z. Reznick
International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms 2011 Volume 13 Issue 1 Pages 19-25

Daedalea gibbosasubstances inhibit LPS-induced expression of iNOS by suppression of NF-γB and MAPK activities in RAW 264.7 macrophage cells

N. Ruimi; H. Rwashdeh; S. Wasser; B. Konkimalla; T. Efferth; M. Bprgatti; R. Gambari; J. Mahajna
International Journal of Molecular Medicine 2010 Volume 25 Issue 3 Pages 421-432

Inhibition of TNFα-induced iNOS expression in HSV-tk transduced 9L glioblastoma cell lines by Marasmius oreades substances through NF-κB- and MAPK-dependent mechanisms

N. Ruimi; R. D. Petrova; R. Agbaria; S. Sussan; S. P. Wasser; A. Z. Reznick; J. Mahajna
Molecular Biology Reports 2010 Volume 37 Issue 8 Pages 3801-3812

Marasmius oreades substances block NF-κB activity through interference with IKK activation pathway

R. D. Petrova; J. Mahajna; S. P. Wasser; N. Ruimi; C. M. Denchev; S. Sussan; E. Nevo; A. Z. Reznick
Molecular Biology Reports 2009 Volume 36 Issue 4 Pages 737-744