Breakthrough in creating bio-artificial organs at Hebrew University-Hadassah Dental School

July 01, 2002

Jerusalem, July 2 - Today people often must wait for months when they need an organ transplant. In the future, they may be able to simply give a tissue sample and then wait a week or two as the sample is used to custom-build the necessary organ, thanks to research conducted by Hebrew University Ph.D. candidate Gadi Pelled, DMD. He received the prestigious Kaye Award this year for his work.

Dr. Pelled explained that one of the major difficulties in creating bio-artificial organs is creating a network of blood vessels in the organ that can connect to those in the body. Working under the guidance of Associate Professor Dan Gazit, Dr. Pelled managed to grow and then combine cells from blood vessels and genetically engineered adult stem cells to create a three-dimensional bio-artificial bone in the lab.

Though Dr. Pelled only has conducted research related to bio-artificial bone thus far, the method he invented can be applied to any tissue that has blood vessels, he said.

Dr. Pelled's technology has been exclusively licensed to SBT, a start-up company founded by the Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University and Prof. Gazit. SBT's mission is the engineering of skeletal tissue and vascular tissues, including bone, cartilage, tendon, ligament, and blood vessels. SBT is well positioned to be a leader in the field. It has developed a unique proprietary biological technology, targeted at the use of ex-vivo (outside the body) tissue engineering, for the generation of biological bone, cartilage, ligament/tendon, and small-diameter blood vessels grafts and methods for treating diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and stroke. SBT has also developed a novel ex-vivo three-dimensional system for drug screening.

This research project was performed with another Kaye award winner, Yossi Gafni. Mr. Gafni is a graduate student conducting research in Prof. Gazit's lab. His main focus is vascular tissue engineering.
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Dr. Pelled, 33, completed a D.M.D. in dental medicine at the Hebrew University in 1995 and, after working as a dentist for several years, returned to pursue a Ph.D. in biotechnology. Dr. Pelled, who lives in Rishon Lezion, is married and has two children.

The Kaye Innovation Awards at the Hebrew University have been awarded annually since 1994. Isaac Kaye of England, a prominent industrialist in the pharmaceutical industry, established the awards to encourage faculty, staff, and students of the University to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential which will benefit the University and society.

Picture available upon request. For further information, contact:
Heidi Gleit, HU foreign press liaison: tel. 972-2-588-2904; cell, 972-64-454-593; email heidig@savion.cc.huji.ac.il
Orit Sulitzeanu, HU spokeswoman: tel. 972-2-588-2811

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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