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Medicine cancer

Israel to the rescue again! This time, fighting cancer in collaboration with New York University.

Technion techs

Dr. Dafna Bar-Sagi (LA), Prof. Aaron Ciechanover, and Dr. Eliezer Shalev. (Photo: Technion)

Two leading Israeli and American scientific research institutes are taking a groundbreaking step forward to advance global collaboration in the fight against cancer.

Two of the world’s preeminent academic and research institutions, NYU Langone Medical Center and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, formally announced on Wednesday a $9 million gift from philanthropists Laura and Isaac Perlmutter that will fund two major, joint research endeavors with potentially far-reaching impact in advancing cancer research.

The joint program is also positioned to attract additional, world-class support from institutions and individuals who are dedicated to eradicating cancer through focused and efficient research.

The first $3 million of the grant will finance six cancer-focused research projects that will be conducted by teams spearheaded by co-investigators from both NYU Langone and the Technion. The remaining $6 million will be used to establish a state-of-the-art research facility on Technion’s campus in Israel that will support these and other research projects – and which will have a principal focus on the emerging field of cancer metabolomics, which are processes that are both affected by, and can influence, a variety of human diseases including cancer.

Because of the significant differences in the chemical processes that occur in cancer cells in comparison to normal healthy cells, metabolomics is becoming ever more important in cancer research. Developing a comprehensive understanding of chemical processes through metabolomics is critical both for the early detection and diagnosis of cancer, as well as for developing innovative treatments.

The gift to foster the NYU Langone-Technion partnership continues the efforts of the Perlmutters to champion projects in the fight against cancer. NYU Langone is a leader in the investigation and treatment of cancer, while the Technion is one of Israel’s leading academic and research centers and a top-ranked science and technology global research university.

“NYU Langone and the Technion have a shared, longstanding commitment to advancing cancer research,” said Dr. Dafna Bar-Sagi, senior vice president and vice dean for science at NYU Langone, chief science officer at NYU School of Medicine, and a principal architect of the NYU Langone-Technion partnership. “We are now at a great moment in our institutions’ illustrious histories, a point from which we can jointly leverage the talent and creativity of our researchers toward accelerating breakthroughs. The foresight and the generosity of the Perlmutters, particularly at this time of financial challenge in funding for basic research, will have tremendous impact.”

“Bringing together the unique expertise of researchers from both NYU and the Technion will hopefully enable us to overcome some of the most difficult challenges in treating cancer patients,” said Technion Professor Aaron Ciechanover, the 2004 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry, and head of the David and Janet Polak Cancer and Vascular Biology Research Center at the Technion Faculty of Medicine‬‬.

Renowned cancer biologist Dr. Benjamin G. Neel, an expert in the field of cell signal transduction, and Dr. Eyal Gottlieb, a world leader in cancer metabolism, will lead the new research facility at the Technion and spearhead joint efforts in cancer metabolomics.

Dr. Neel will work closely with Prof. Ciechanover to lead the collaborative cancer research effort between the two institutions.

Bringing Israel’s Strengths Front and Center

2004 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry

Professor Aaron Ciechanover, the 2004 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry. (Photo: Technion)

The latest gift also recognizes the Perlmutters’ commitment to wed Israel’s strengths as a global leader in research and technological innovation with other institutions and endeavors, said the Technion in a statement. The Perlmutters note that Israeli institutions like the Technion spearhead many of the world’s top advances in medicine, science and technology with a proven record in the development of effective cancer treatments. The Perlmutters prioritize funding these efforts through partnerships like the newly established one with NYU Langone.

“Ike and I have long sought for ways to link the state-of-the-art scientific and research advances being made in Israel with our deep commitment to NYU Langone Medical Center,” said Ms. Perlmutter in announcing the new gift. “The partnership between the Technion and NYU Langone allows us to launch a focused cancer research and treatment approach. We are confident that this collaborative effort, which avoids duplication of research initiatives and creates efficiencies among marquee donors and researchers, will lead to dramatic results in the fight against this terrible disease.”

Collaborative efforts between NYU Langone and the Technion are already underway.