CANCER

Nearly half the life science research at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel is focussed on cancer.

There are over 50 research groups dedicated to unravelling the cancer mysteries and finding ways to diagnose, treat and prevent a disease that will, directly or indirectly, touch us all at some point in our lives.  Weizmann scientists first discovered that cancer can develop in stages and revealed detailed information about specific cancers such as lung, breast and prostate.  Weizmann’s key cancer research objective is to turn research into tools to fight this prolific disease.

Weizmann facts

First to clone p53 – a cancer gene linked to over 50% of cancers

First to transplant bone barrow between incompatible people

Weizmann is currently in Phase III Trials of photodynamic, chlorophyll-based cancer treatments

40% of Weizmann’s Life Science research is cancer related

Seeking breakthroughs to revolutionise cancer research and treatment world-wide

Weizmann scientists are studying the molecular basis of cancer metastasis – which is devastating and little understood – to find ways to halt its process and stop cancer in its tracks.

Seeking ways to use antibodies to assist current therapies to beat cancer

Erbitux® – an antibody-based therapy that works in conjunction with regular chemotherapy was invented by Weizmann scientists and is used to treat colorectal and head and neck cancer.  Distributed by Merck Serono Australia Pty it was approved for use in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in May 2013.

Seeking to use natural materials like garlic which can destroy cancer

Garlic is a natural chemical that Weizmann researchers have used to destroy malignant tumours and tissue, while leaving healthy tissue untouched.  This technique is powerful and has the potential to prevent cancer metastasis.

Seeking to provide the science that can replicate human genes, leading to cancer-fighting therapies

In 1983 Weizmann scientists were the first to study and clone the p53 cancer gene of which defective copies are found in half of all human cancers.  They found this gene to be significant as it can suppress cell multiplication and trigger cell suicide.

Seeking solutions to allow incompatible donors to give bone marrow to patients

Now used world-wide, Weizmann scientist Professor Yair Reisner found the solution to bone marrow transplants between incompatible donors and recipients by utilising a hormone to mobilise bone marrow cells of leukaemia patients and “bubble” children.  This method was used first used on a leukaemia patient in Italy in 1993.

Seeking a simple blood test to predict lung cancer risk

An enzyme that helps protect against lung cancer was identified by a Weizmann scientist and now through a simple blood test, scientists can search for different levels of this enzyme to help explain why some get cancer and others, such as smokers, do not.

Seeking methods to mix light with non-toxic drugs for prostate cancer treatment

Cutting edge research conducted at Weizmann is looking at the viability of photodynamic therapy to treat cancer tumours.  This treatment is based on on-toxic drugs combined with light that together destroy the tumours blood supply. The treatment is approved for use in Mexico and application for use in Europe is underway whilst advanced trials are taking place in Israel.

Seeking and laying the foundations for an approved leukaemia treatment

Called Glivec® for the Australian market, Weizmann scientists did the foundation research that kick-started the development of this drug, which primarily treats chronic myeloid leukaemia as well as some other conditions.

Seeking ways to create a drug that can locate and identify cancer-causing genes

Having discovered how to reverse the metastatic properties of colon cancer, this Weizmann research may hold the key to drugs that can target colon cancer-causing genes.

Seeking and finding malignant tumours without invasive biopsy

Diagnosing breast and prostate cancer using an MRI-based method called three time point (3TP) was developed by Weizmann scientist Professor Hadassa Degani.

Other achievements

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