Sarit Larisch is determined to find a cure for cancer, and the Israeli scientist believes she is making significant progress.
Head of the Cell Death and Cancer Research Laboratory at the University of Haifa, Dr Larisch has discovered a protein called ARTS (Apoptosis-Related Protein in TGF Beta-Signalling Pathways), which appears in cells. "Normal" cells will have a level of ARTS which causes cells to die and subsequently function properly without becoming damaged. In cancerous cells, there is a low level of ARTS which prevents them from dying, leading to a risk of mutations.
Dr Larisch tells People: "We are on to something big with the discovery of ARTS. When we have perfected how to manipulate cells using ARTS to destroy the cancerous cells, we will be able to cure any type of cancer."
Dr Larisch realised that she wanted to pursue cancer research when she did her post-doctorate at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland. She hopes there will be a cure within five to ten years for some cancers, but says it will be a gradual process. "It is a great opportunity for Israel to be the first with this novel therapy. Cancer doesn't distinguish between Muslim, Jew, or Christian. It will be wonderful to put Israel on the map as having revolutionised the fight against cancer."