Prof. Abraham Fainsod
, Developmental Biology & Cancer Research, IMRIC
Professor of Biochemistry
Wolfson Family Professor of Genetics
Over a decade ago, I had a student who was doing some experiments on retinoic acid (a nutrient that that body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy), which is essential in proper fetal development. We became interested in blocking the biosynthesis of retinoic acid and she showed me how ethyl alcohol blocked the retinoic acid effects. The results intrigued us and we began to focus our attention on the developmental malformations induced by alcohol as part of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and, in particular, its strongest manifestation, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Since then our research has indicated that ethyl alcohol detoxification competes with retinoic acid biosynthesis and this competition can be abolished by increasing the levels of retinol (Vitamin A). IMRIC has now established the Canada-Israel International Fetal Alcohol Consortium, a collaboration with the government of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba that will test whether adjusting the levels of vitamin A in the diet can reduce the severity and the incidence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder as in our experimental system. We are excited to see what the results produce.
1984-1986: Post-Doctoral fellow, molecular developmental biology, Yale University
1984: Ph.D. in Genetics, The Hebrew University
1980: B.Sc. in Biology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
It's too early to call it a cure, but plain old vitamin A could curb the devastating effects of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
New research by an Israeli scientist suggests vitamin A could act almost like an antidote to the effects of alcohol on very early embryos during the critical development of the head and central nervous system. That's when the worst effects of FASD start.
Winnipeg – The University of Manitoba has teamed up with Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Manitoba government to support a new research collaboration to address fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
Discussed collaborative medical research partnerships between Canada and Israel at IMRIC, the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada. Mrs. Johnston Visited Early Childhood Programs at Hebrew University.