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Follow the news and meet the people behind IMRIC's innovative medical research.

Breakthrough Research in a Life-threatening Bacterial Infection with High Mortality Rate

Prof. Raymond Kaempfer

I am always excited to receive first-hand news about breakthrough research that will have a real impact on lives around the world. I recently heard the good news that from a clinical trial tin Phase 2a which displayed positive results in patients with Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infections (NSTI), a life-threatening bacterial infection with significant morbidity and high mortality rate.

IMRIC researcher Professor Raymond Kaempfer and his lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology are the team behind this exciting discovery. “Molecular biology is a sophisticated field. We now have tangible news for the real world,” he says. “Conditions leading to shock often involve an immune storm that is lethal. We designed in our lab a molecule that attenuates the immune storm in human cells and protects animals from death. The clinical results now show that our molecule has a clear treatment benefit in patients with a life-threatening disease, ‘flesh-eating bacteria'. In other words, it works in humans. For me as a basic scientist, this is an exciting moment.”

The trial established that patients treated with AB103 had a meaningful improvement across multiple endpoints measured in the trial compared to the placebo. Those treated with AB103 had spent fewer days in the ICU, had faster resolution of organ dysfunction, required fewer days of assisted ventilation and needed fewer surgical procedures to remove infected tissue. In addition, systemic inflammatory biomarkers demonstrated a faster decline in treated patients compared to placebo, consistent with the drug’s mechanism of action.

So what is AB103? “AB103 is a novel, short peptide immune regulatory therapy that appears to be very promising as an adjuvant treatment in early clinical trials of necrotizing soft tissue infections (NSTI)” explains Dr. Steven Opal, Brown Medical School professor of medicine, who also serves as Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island’s chief of its infectious disease division and a member of Atox Bio's Scientific Advisory Board. “These are devastating infections that need immediate and often repeated surgical intervention, and prolonged courses of antibiotics. A new and safe treatment to reduce the need for repeated surgeries, and long ICU stays would be a welcome addition to current NSTI management strategies.”

Atox Bio, the clinical stage biotechnology company behind the therapy, was established in 2003 by Prof. Kaempfer and Dr. Gila Arad from the Faculty of Medicine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Yissum, the technology transfer company of the university. The company develops novel immunemodulators for severe infections in critically ill patients. Atox Bio plans to present data from the trial at an upcoming major medical meeting.

Vlog: IMRIC Researcher Dr. Cohen Reveals Latest Breakthrough in his Neurodegenerative Disease Investigations

Blog: Faculty


In my latest Vlog I discuss our most recent research in the lab, collaborating with another Hebrew University lab. Through our partnership research we have made great progress and could have discovered a drug using aging manipulation in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Check out my video and I look forward to updating you again soon. 

Movember Moustache is Growing Your Way

moustache for Movember

It’s another Movember and that means less space on people’s faces and more moustaches. This year takes no exception to growing out that full-length moustache to raise funds and awareness for Men’s Health.

This year more celebrities, colleges and organizations have gotten on the moustache train and are not only growing them but finding the most unique way to spread the word about this critical month. In an effort to do our part here at IMRIC, not only through our incredible prostate research, we would like to share some of the incredible moustaches, campaigns and commercials promoting the Movember cause. Have a laugh, learn about men’s health and join in with your own hair growth!

Check out this hilarious video from Parks and Recs star Nick Offerman on the in-between stage of moustache length.


The European Research Council Grants Announced: Six IMRIC Researchers Receive the Prize!

ERC logo


The IMRIC campus is buzzing with good news as word spreads that six IMRIC researchers have won the prestigious European Research Council (ERC) grants. The grants represent a wide variety of research fields throughout the institution and will support breakthrough research for the next few years to come.

The recipients of the award include Prof. Hagai Bergman, Prof. Ora Fruman, Prof. Eli Keshet, Prof. Ofer Mandelboim, Prof. Hanah Margalit and Prof. Amir Amedi. Their labs will each enjoy the fruits of their labor as they continue in their basic science investigations that will change medicine, as we know it.

Prof. Ofer Mandelboim’s research on bacteria and Natural Killer (NK) cells will possibly introduce a new field of research throughout the next few years of study. As he explains, “NK cells that are well known by their ability to recognize and eliminate viruses and tumor cells were also implicated in the defense against bacteria. However, that said, the recognition of viruses and tumors by NK cells is intensively studied but little is understood when it comes to the recognition of bacteria by NK cells. Moreover, we do not know how bacteria is recognized and the functional consequences of such recognition are also weakly understood.” His goal is to aim at answering these questions and to determine the “NK cell receptor-bacterial interactome.”

Prof. Hagai Bergman will continue his research and implementation of closed-loop Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) therapy on mental disorders. This fascinating work has already made headway in the medical world for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. Prof. Bergman told me that he could not have done it without the “amazing students” in his lab that are the ones pushing him and his research forward. To check out a recent vlog from his PhD student Boris Rosin click here. Prof. Bergman will continue to focus his investigations in understanding the effective treatment for Basal Ganglia and their disorders.

Prof. Amir Amedi’s research of brain organization to visual rehabilitation is another unique investigation changing the face of blindness, as we know it today. Through his work in sensory substitution, Prof. Amedi has shown the world that you can see through sound. Today, Amedi’s lab is working on the concept of ‘seeing’ with your ears, hands and bionic eyes. To learn more about his lab’s work check out Graduate student Ella’s recent vlog in which she demonstrates the sensory substitution method and even shares an example for viewers to test themselves.

VLOG: IMRIC Grad Student Ella: The blind and you

Blog: Student
By: Ella Striem-Amit
Grad Student Ella Striem-Amit

Check out my first vlog on my current research. I am a graduate student working in Prof. Amir Amedi’s lab at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. My research involves sensory substitution devices (SSDs) for the blind. Using the vOICe SSD, created by Dr. Peter Meijer, and novel devices continuously developed in the lab, we focus on teaching blind individuals to 'see' through sounds and investigate how the blind brain can learn to process 'vision' in adulthood.

For more on Dr. Amir Amedi's Lab click here