Photodynamic cancer therapy and immunomodulation

Prof. Avigdor Scherz, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences

Prof. Avigdor Scherz is a plant scientist who has parleyed his knowledge of photosynthetic materials into a revolutionary cure for certain types of cancer. In collaboration with the late Prof. Yoram Salomon of the Institute’s Department of Biological Regulation, Prof. Scherz designed a therapy called Vascular Targeted Photodynamic Therapy with TOOKAD® soluble (TS-VTP), in which illumination of tumors after the infusion of a drug compound derived from the molecules that drive photosynthesis—causes cell death and tumor collapse. Shown to completely cure early-stage prostate cancer in a 90-minute outpatient procedure, TS-VTP is now being tested for the treatment of other malignancies in both pre-clinical and clinical settings, and has received regulatory approval in Israel, Mexico, and Europe. In collaboration with researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Cold Spring Harbor in the United States, Prof. Scherz is currently examining the use of the TS-VTP protocol together with immuno-modulation in pancreatic cancer.