Dr. Ittai Ben-Porath
Head of Grafstein Network for Cancer Research, IMRIC
, Developmental Biology & Cancer Research, IMRIC
The research I am doing at IMRIC to discover the simple rules that govern something so complex really grabbed my attention.
I was born and raised in Jerusalem and went to school there. I enjoyed math and biology in high school, but it wasn't until I began learning about genetics that I began to have a clearer vision of what I wanted to do. What really excited me was how DNA contains all the information about us. Now we could actually "read" the letters that dictate our biological outcome.
Our IMRIC team has been researching breast cancer and we have discovered that tumors are linked in various ways to normal stem cells in the body. We have identified genes that when active, cause tumor cells to adopt certain traits of stem cells, in a sense activating a “stem cell program” in them. This program renders them more aggressive and metastatic. The big question now is learning how to control the programming of cancer cells and stop the metastatic seeding process, so that we can more effectively treat women and reduce mortality from the disease.
Ph.D., the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The IMRIC collaboration between McGill University and Hebrew University brings together two top scientists who have each made their mark in the world of cancer research. Their partnership will bring us closer to understanding how tumors, like organs, develop "stem cells" that circulate and implant themselves in other parts of the body.