A new method for inexpensively manufacturing a family of chemical compounds with important applications for industry, agriculture, drug manufacturing and possibly even in treating various types of cancers has been devised by a researcher at the Hebrew University School of Pharmacy.
For his work in this area, Dr. Abed Al-Aziz Ahmad Al-Quntar was awarded one of the Kaye Innovation Awards at this year’s Hebrew University of Jerusalem Board of Governors meeting. This was the tenth anniversary year for the Kaye Award presentations.
Dr. Quntar has developed a new method for the preparation of various types of vinylphosphonates, using available, low-price, non-toxic and one-step reactions that are applicable to mass production.
Besides its use in such areas as flame retardants, in drug manufacturing, in agriculture and for the synthesis of various organic compounds, the novel vinylphosphonates developed by Dr. Al-Quntar have been found to be promising and effective as inhibitors of MMPs, or matrix metalloproteinases.
MMPs are a family of structurally related enzymes which are found in cellular connective tissue and which play an important role in both normal and pathological tissue changes. MMPs’ activity is controlled by native inhibitors in the body, but an imbalance between these enzymes and the native inhibitors causes many diseases, including breast, bladder and gastric cancers, many types of inflammations, and arthritis. In case of imbalance, synthetic inhibitors such as the vinylphosphonates could be an alternative to the native inhibitors.
Dr. Al-Quntar, 36, who lives in Jerusalem, did his work on vinylphosphonate as his doctoral research under the supervision of Prof. Morris Srebnik. Born in Beit Jala near Jerusalem, Al-Quntar received his B.A. at Bethlehem University and his master of science degree at the Hebrew University. His Ph.D. was awarded to him this year. He is married and the father of three sons. 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 have benefited or will benefit the university and society.