Culture & Community

2019: A Year in Weizmann Science

E-news, December 2019 • TAGS: Community

We are nearing the end of 2019: time to look back on the Weizmann Institute’s year in science. The researchers were so productive that we can only touch on their many breakthroughs in fields from climate change to vaccines, Alzheimer’s disease to quantum computing, personalized cancer treatment to nutrition. Here are just a few of the year’s life-affirming advances:

  • Artificial intelligence, or AI, is transforming our world – and can save lives. Our scientists used machine learning to create a way to diagnose multiple myeloma before it turns cancerous. This means patients can be monitored with simple blood tests, enabling earlier treatment for multiple myeloma – and hopefully other cancers as well.

    In another example, Weizmann and NYU used AI techniques to create a system that interprets EKGs almost as accurately as highly trained technicians. EKGs are the gold standard in diagnosing heart conditions, and the award-winning method will allow them to be used in places without technicians, from nursing homes to developing countries.

  • The photodynamic cancer treatment developed by Profs. Avigdor Scherz and the late Yoram Salomon received European approval for early-stage prostate cancer, adding 31 countries to those where men can receive this highly successful therapy. Patients are being treated in top medical centers in Germany, the U.K., Israel, Italy, and beyond – and U.S. FDA approval is expected in 2020.

    Prof. Scherz and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are now testing the method for its power to destroy breast, late-stage prostate, esophageal, urinary tract, and pancreatic cancers.

  • Weizmann research showed that we do better on tests if we inhale at the same time we’re presented with a problem – a finding that could not only help in our everyday lives, but improve the skills of people with attention and learning disorders.

  • Caused by a single defective gene, Ewing sarcoma is a bone cancer that primarily affects children. A Weizmann team revealed the molecular interactions underlying the painful disease – and proposed a treatment that already shows promise in mice.

  • Scientists discovered a mass die-off that took place two billion years ago in which up to 99.5% of life was destroyed – far more than during the dinosaur extinction. The breakthrough, covered in publications such as Newsweek, could also provide insight into how Earth will change in the future.

2019 also saw Weizmann scientists building the world’s first “quantum gates,” crucial for the computers of tomorrow, and developing a method to help immune cells target – and eliminate – melanoma. A stem-cell treatment for the neurodegenerative disease ALS began clinical trials, and Prof. Ruth Arnon’s universal flu vaccine is in late-stage Phase III clinical trials.

It is particularly exciting when the Institute’s impact is recognized on the global stage. In 2019, the European Commission named Weizmann one of the world’s top 25 research institutes/universities, and the prestigious Nature Index conducted a normalized ranking in order to evaluate institutions of all sizes equally.

The result? The small-but-mighty Weizmann Institute was rated second in the world for research quality, far ahead of much larger institutions.

The Institute has grown from humble beginnings into a global powerhouse thanks to supporters who understand that curiosity-driven research drives every major discovery. We hope you will support our mission of science for the benefit of humanity in 2020 … and beyond.

Culture & Community

2019: A Year in Weizmann Science

E-news, December 2019 • TAGS: Community

We are nearing the end of 2019: time to look back on the Weizmann Institute’s year in science. The researchers were so productive that we can only touch on their many breakthroughs in fields from climate change to vaccines, Alzheimer’s disease to quantum computing, personalized cancer treatment to nutrition. Here are just a few of the year’s life-affirming advances:

  • Artificial intelligence, or AI, is transforming our world – and can save lives. Our scientists used machine learning to create a way to diagnose multiple myeloma before it turns cancerous. This means patients can be monitored with simple blood tests, enabling earlier treatment for multiple myeloma – and hopefully other cancers as well.

    In another example, Weizmann and NYU used AI techniques to create a system that interprets EKGs almost as accurately as highly trained technicians. EKGs are the gold standard in diagnosing heart conditions, and the award-winning method will allow them to be used in places without technicians, from nursing homes to developing countries.

  • The photodynamic cancer treatment developed by Profs. Avigdor Scherz and the late Yoram Salomon received European approval for early-stage prostate cancer, adding 31 countries to those where men can receive this highly successful therapy. Patients are being treated in top medical centers in Germany, the U.K., Israel, Italy, and beyond – and U.S. FDA approval is expected in 2020.

    Prof. Scherz and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are now testing the method for its power to destroy breast, late-stage prostate, esophageal, urinary tract, and pancreatic cancers.

  • Weizmann research showed that we do better on tests if we inhale at the same time we’re presented with a problem – a finding that could not only help in our everyday lives, but improve the skills of people with attention and learning disorders.

  • Caused by a single defective gene, Ewing sarcoma is a bone cancer that primarily affects children. A Weizmann team revealed the molecular interactions underlying the painful disease – and proposed a treatment that already shows promise in mice.

  • Scientists discovered a mass die-off that took place two billion years ago in which up to 99.5% of life was destroyed – far more than during the dinosaur extinction. The breakthrough, covered in publications such as Newsweek, could also provide insight into how Earth will change in the future.

2019 also saw Weizmann scientists building the world’s first “quantum gates,” crucial for the computers of tomorrow, and developing a method to help immune cells target – and eliminate – melanoma. A stem-cell treatment for the neurodegenerative disease ALS began clinical trials, and Prof. Ruth Arnon’s universal flu vaccine is in late-stage Phase III clinical trials.

It is particularly exciting when the Institute’s impact is recognized on the global stage. In 2019, the European Commission named Weizmann one of the world’s top 25 research institutes/universities, and the prestigious Nature Index conducted a normalized ranking in order to evaluate institutions of all sizes equally.

The result? The small-but-mighty Weizmann Institute was rated second in the world for research quality, far ahead of much larger institutions.

The Institute has grown from humble beginnings into a global powerhouse thanks to supporters who understand that curiosity-driven research drives every major discovery. We hope you will support our mission of science for the benefit of humanity in 2020 … and beyond.