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Science for the benefit of cancer research.

Fighting Cancer

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

    • 1st to clone p53 gene that is involved in over 50% of cancers
    • World's 1st bone marrow transplants between incompatible people
    • ~40% of all life-sciences research is cancer-related
  • Photodynamic, chlorophyll-based prostate cancer treatment is in Phase III trials

  • Of all new cancer
    cases in the U.S.,

  • is a non-invasive,
    FDA-approved,
    MRI-based way to
    diagnose breast cancer


  • The NIH estimates
    that cancer's total
    annual cost is
    over $200 billion

  • American women have a 12.3%, or 1 in 8, lifetime breast-cancer diagnosis risk

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    Imagine a breakthrough that revolutionizes cancer research and therapy around the globe.

    Scientists at the Weizmann Institute work to clarify the molecular mechanisms involved in metastasis, which is still one of the least understood aspects of cancer, and devise strategies against it.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Imagine science that can predict 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.

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

    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. Advanced clinical testing is underway.

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    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).

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    Imagine science that creates a drug to seek out and identify cancer-causing genes.

    Weizmann scientists succeeded in reversing the metastatic properties of colon cancer; their research may be used as the foundation for drugs that can specifically target colon cancer-causing genes.

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    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.