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Arthritis Treatment Breakthrough

Arthritis Treatment Breakthrough

July 11, 2008

Medical Research, Press Releases

BEER-SHEVA, ISRAEL – March 8, 2007 – Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev made a significant breakthrough in arthritis treatment with the innovative anti-inflammatory drug BL-3030 as the critical next step in long-term treatment for arthritis sufferers.

The research team was lead by Prof. Rachel Levy, a professor of clinical biochemistry and head of the Division of Basic Sciences in the Faculty of Health Sciences of BGU, and also head of the Infectious Diseases Laboratory at Soroka University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva. Levy’s team found that the BL-3030 molecule prevents synthesis of cytosolic phospholipase A2, a protein that plays a significant role in inflammation.

This breakthrough was the result of years of intensive research on host defense mechanisms against infections and inflammation. The current treatment for inflammatory diseases, including steroidal and anti-inflammatory non steroidal drugs, provides limited benefits and is often accompanied by severe side effects, limiting long term use. BL-3030, on the other hand, has been shown to have limited to no side effects on lab mice.

“To see these mice go from having the swollen limbs and immobility that accompanies severe rheumatoid arthritis to running normally after only six days of treatment is truly a sight,” said Levy. “The possibilities of what this could mean for a large portion of the population afflicted with inflammatory diseases, particularly the elderly, are staggering.”

Inflammation is a critical factor in a plethora of diseases that affect the population worldwide. Rheumatoid arthritis, for example, is a chronic and often debilitating auto-immune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks joint tissue, leading to pain, inflammation, deformity and disability that can be permanent. In the United States alone, over 2 million people suffer from RA and the total U.S. market for rheumatoid arthritis therapeutic products forecasted for 2013 is $9.5 billion.

Recently, Israel’s leading drug development company, BioLineRx, signed an agreement with B.G. Negev (BGN) Technologies Ltd., the technology transfer company of Ben-Gurion University, and Mor Research Applications, Ltd., the technology transfer office of Clalit Health Services. BioLine is investing a reported $9 million into the development and commercialization of the BL-3030 drug, which could mean an effective medication against a wide range of inflammatory diseases.  Testing on humans is expected to begin in about two years.        

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) celebrates its 50th birthday this year, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications