HEALTH AND MEDICINE

Pioneers in research that has lead to better health and medicine world-wide, Weizmann has a long list of achievements.

Some include the discovery of the basis of amniocentesis and new fertility treatments; the founding of two leading treatments for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) called Copaxone® and Rebif®; and the development of advanced image scanning technology.  Currently under development are vaccines for flu and diabetes; growing new organs and T cells to treat damaged spines from stem cells; and finding out how diseases originated.  Discovering how medicine and therapies will evolve is also a key focus: personalised medicine that provides treatments and therapies based on the individual’s genetic make-up are the future, and Weizmann’s new Nancy and Stephen Grand Israel National Center for Personalized Medicine is working hard to make this a reality. In Australia, Weizmann collaborations with leading universities have also played a role in understanding the basis of disease in a bid to develop better treatments and help our world to become a healthier place. Weizmann has recently joined forces with Australia’s famous Garvan Institute of Medical Research to establish the Garvan-Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics where these two great research centres will create synergistic research platforms to advance cellular genomic science.

Weizmann facts

Leading MS drugs Copaxone® and Rebif® developed by Weizmann, treating some of the 23,700 Australians with MS

A type 1 (juvenile) diabetes treatment is now in Phase III clinical trials

Deciphered 3-billion-base-pair genome in its role as part of the Human Genome Project

Seeking medical solutions through developing artificial enzymes that can change and evolve

Weizmann Scientists – led by Professor Dan Tawfik – have designed artificial enzymes that can evolve in a test tube at faster rates, opening doors for different applications in medicine and industry.

Seeking ways to prevent brain damage from head injury, stroke or disease

The cause of brain damage from injury is from glutamate, a neurotransmitter that floods the brain when such an event occurs.  A method the makes this excess glutamate leave the brain quickly and safely into the blood stream has been developed by Weizmann’s Professor Vivian Teichberg.

Seeking ways to double the chance of women conceiving who have fertility issues

Now used around the world, the process of performing a uterine biopsy before in vitro fertilization was found by Weizmann’s Professor Nava Dekel to double the chance of pregnancy success.

Seeking the answers to the mystery of our memory

Weizmann research undertaken by Professor Yadin Dudai has been ground-breaking – finding ways to erase memories; how a specific brain enzyme can improve old and new memories; and proving that false memories can be created through social pressure.

Seeking ways to mobilise paralysed people and help patients communicate who are ‘locked-in’

A revolutionary device that helps a quadriplegic person drive their wheel chair and patients who are ‘locked-in’ communicate, just by sniffing, is being studied by Professor Noam Sobel and his team of Weizmann neurobiologists.

Seeking to uncover the genetic link between stress and metabolic conditions like diabetes and obesity

A single gene linking stress to obesity and diabetes was identified by Weizmann scientists who also showed this gene action can affect the body’s whole metabolism.

Seeking solutions to regenerating damaged nerves in the spinal cord

A pioneering treatment that regenerates nerves in the spinal cord involves boosting the body’s natural immune system following trauma and was developed by Professor Michal Schwartz and her team at Weizmann. This treatment can significantly improve the outcome of spinal cord injury.

Seeking a vaccine to arrest Type 1 diabetes progression

A vaccine now in clinical trials is designed to halt the progression of Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes by blocking the destruction of insulin-secreting pancreatic cells.  The vaccine was developed by Weizmann’s Professor Irun Cohen.

Seeking to grow kidneys for those needing transplants each year – in Australia this is around 800 people

Functioning human kidneys were created in mice through unique stem cell research by Weizmann’s Professor Yair Reisner – providing hope for people world-wide who have organ failure, particularly those waiting for a kidney.

Seeking the end of liver transplants by turning stem cells into new liver cells

Stem cells in bone marrow were discovered by Weizmann scientists to be able to transform into liver cells, helping to repair a damaged liver. During 2015, 264 liver transplants were performed in Australia.

Seeking better drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease

The discovery of the molecular spatial structure of a brain enzyme called acetylcholinesterase (AChE), thought to play a key role in Alzheimer’s disease, is creating pathways to designing new drugs to treat a disease that affects just over 350,000 Australians. The discovery was made by Weizmann’s Professors Joel Sussman and Israel Silman.

Seeking to detect genetic conditions while a child is in the womb

It was in 1956 that the now routinely used, revolutionary method to detect genetic conditions in a developing human foetus, amniocentesis, was developed by Weizmann’s Professor Leo Sachs.

Seeking to develop a hearing aid based on the real structure of the human ear

Discovering that the membrane of the inner ear is rigid at one and flexible at the other, may indicate how the ear distinguishes between different frequencies and sounds.  This finding by Weizmann scientists could lead to correcting hearing impairments and design better hearing aids.

Seeking the development of advanced imaging scanning technology to reveal physical processes in the body

The creation of heavy-oxygen water to study basic processes like breathing, brain chemistry and photosynthesis by Weizmann scientists back in the 1950s, led to this technology being used in modern advanced imaging scans like positron emission tomography (PET).

Seeking a simple blood test to screen for schizophrenia

Schizophrenia affects 1 in 100 people in Australia and is currently diagnosed using behavioural methods.  A Weizmann scientist has however developed a blood test that may be used in future to screen for the disease.

Seeking food based solutions that have anti-cancer properties

Weizmann scientists developed a unique process using the Dunaliella algae as the basis to create a beta-carotene-based health food product that has shown to have anti-cancer properties.

Seeking to create science that’s Nobel Prize material

In 2009 the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, for deciphering the structure and function of the ribosome – a cell’s protein factory, was granted to Weizmann’s Professor Ada Yonath.  Her work has helped clarify how antibiotic drugs work and is pertinent in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Seeking changes to the future of gene therapy

Designing gene therapies are part of our future thanks to the work of Weizmann scientists who revealed that the positioning of nucleosomes – DNA spheres that compress around proteins and strung like beads along chromosomes – is encoded in the genes themselves.

Seeking to improve the lives of people with MS

Around the world 2.5 million people have multiple sclerosis (MS). Many control their disease using leading drugs Copaxone® and Rebif® which were developed as a direct result of Weizmann research.

Other achievements

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