Fighting Cancer
Our Achievements

Fighting Cancer

Science for the benefit of cancer research.

At the Weizmann Institute of Science, more than 50 research groups focus on developing better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. In fact, nearly half of Weizmann’s life sciences research is cancer-related. Institute research has provided critical knowledge about cancer in general—Weizmann scientists were the first to demonstrate that cancer can grow in stages—as well as about specific cancers, such as breast, lung, and prostate. The Institute’s collaborative teams are working to turn basic research into powerful diagnostic tools, drugs, and therapies to fight cancer—and win.

Weizmann by the Numbers

  • We were first to clone p53, the gene involved in over 50% of all cancers
  • Our research led to the world’s first bone-marrow transplant between incompatible people
  • Over 60 research groups focus on cancer – that’s ~40% of all our life-science research

Selected Achievements

Imagine science that uses antibodies to help standard therapies fight cancer.

Weizmann scientists invented the synergistic effect behind Erbitux®, an antibody-based therapy that presents synergism with conventional chemotherapy. Used to treat colorectal and head and neck cancer, Erbitux® was approved by the FDA in 2001.

Imagine science that enables bone marrow transplants between incompatible donors and patients.

Weizmann scientist Prof. Yair Reisner tackled the problem of bone marrow transplantation between incompatible donors and recipients by using a hormone to mobilize the bone marrow cells of leukemia patients and “bubble” children. In 1993, this method was used for the first time to treat a leukemia patient in Italy. Today it is used worldwide.

Imagine science that can assess your risk for lung cancer – with a blood test.

A Weizmann scientist identified an enzyme that helps protect against lung cancer. Genetic differences may explain why some people get cancer while others, including smokers, don’t. A simple blood test could help gauge personal risk.

Imagine science combining non-toxic drugs with light to treat prostate cancers.

Weizmann Institute scientists are conducting pioneering research on the viability of photodynamic therapy (PDT) to treat malignant tumors. This “green” therapy can treat prostate cancer by combining non-toxic drug treatment with light, destroying the tumor’s blood supply. Clinical testing is underway.

Imagine science that lays the groundwork for an FDA-approved leukemia treatment.

Weizmann research established the foundation for the development of Gleevec®, which has been approved by the FDA to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).

Imagine science that enables detection of malignant tumors without the need for invasive biopsies.

Weizmann scientist Prof. Hadassa Degani developed a non-invasive, MRI-based method called three time point (3TP) that is FDA-approved for diagnosing breast and prostate cancer. 

Imagine science that uses garlic to destroy cancer without damaging healthy tissue.

Allicin, a natural chemical in garlic, has been used by Weizmann researchers to destroy malignant tumors while leaving healthy tissue intact. This technique could also prove invaluable for preventing metastasis following surgery.

Imagine science that can replicate a human gene, leading to new cancer-fighting treatments.

Weizmann scientists were among the first to study and clone the p53 gene, defective copies of which are found in more than half of all human cancers. They determined that this gene can suppress cell multiplication and trigger cells to kill themselves.

Project-Based Fundraising, Find Your Passion

When you support Weizmann Institute scientists that inspire you with their vital work, and encourage others to join your effort, you become partners in the search for meaningful solutions to the world's greatest challenges.