Israeli Biologist Turning Tumors into Gold


Karl Skorecki, a biologist at Technion University in Haifa, Israel, is among a handful of researchers hoping to turn a certain kind of rare tumor into biological gold. Accoring to the New York Times, new research suggests that the very property that makes these teratoma tumors sinister – their ability to spawn human tissues – makes them valuable scientifically.

A tumor’s encroachment is always terrifying, but teratomas, literally “monster tumors,” exert a macabre hold on the imagination because they contain human elements remixed with Frankensteinian logic. It is not unusual for a teratoma to contain patches of hair, errant wedges of cartilage and even fully formed teeth. In the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” Toula’s Aunt Voula describes her teratoma as a mutant version of herself: “I had a lump at the back of my neck,” she says. “So I go to the doctor, and inside the lump he found teeth and a spinal cord. Inside the lump was my twin.”

Teratomas’ most fascinating quality, Dr. Skorecki said, is their capacity to generate a smorgasbord of human tissue varieties, including bones, skin and ligaments. As a result, researchers testing a new medicine on a cancer-seeded teratoma can gauge what effects the drug will have on different cell types without enlisting human subjects. “Right now, there isn’t a good way to derive primary human cells in the lab, other than a few limited types,” Dr. Skorecki said. “With this model, you can see how different kinds of cells respond to the drugs.”

Full Story: NY Times

Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote
Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Ezewas a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.
Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Eze was a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google’s first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He’s an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.