American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science

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Science for the benefit of health & medicine.

Improving Health & Medicine

Research at the Weizmann Institute of Science has led to improved health and better medicine for people everywhere. Weizmann scientists discovered the basis of amniocentesis and new fertility treatments; discovered Copaxone® and Rebif®, today two of the frontline treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS); and developed a technology used in advanced medical imaging scans. They are creating diabetes vaccines and flu vaccines; using stem cells to grow new organs and T cells to treat damaged spines; and studying the origins of life and the origins of disease. Institute scientists are also advancing into the future of medicine: at its new Nancy and Stephen Grand Israel National Center for Personalized Medicine, treatments and therapies designed just for the patient will become a reality. From understanding the origins of disease to developing the basis for new medicines, the Institute’s basic science research is leading to a healthier world.

  • Weizmann by the Numbers

    • Developed 2 of the firstline drugs for MS: Copaxone® and Rebif®
    • Vaccine for Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes is in Phase III clinical trials
    • Part of the Human Genome Project that deciphered our 3-billion-base-pair genome
  • Coughing or sneezing can spread the flu 6 feet away


  • 37% of hypertensive women monitor their blood pressure, versus 28% of men


  • Weizmann's biopsy-based fertility treatment dramatically increases chance of pregnancy.

  • Almost 40% of American adults – and about

    18% of kids are obese
  • Creation of human kidneys in mice may lead to custom-grown organs

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    Imagine science that doubles the chances of women with fertility problems to conceive.

    The Weizmann Institute's Prof. Nava Dekel discovered that performing a uterine biopsy just before a woman undergoes in vitro fertilization (IVF) doubles the chances of a successful pregnancy. Her method is now being used by women all over the world.

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    Imagine science that unlocks the mysteries of memory.

    Prof. Yadin Dudai's groundbreaking neuroscience research includes identifying a way to erase memories; the discovery that a brain enzyme can improve memories, even older ones; and the finding that social pressure can lead to falsified memories.

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    Imagine science that helps paralyzed people get around and locked-in patients communicate.

    Prof. Noam Sobel and his team of Weizmann Institute neurobiologists invented a device that enables quadriplegic persons to drive a wheelchair and locked-in patients to write via computer – all by sniffing. The revolutionary, easy-to-use device is being studied for other uses as well.

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    Imagine science that uncovers the genetic link between stress and metabolic conditions, such as obesity and diabetes.

    Weizmann scientists have identified a single gene linking stress to obesity and diabetes, and have shown that the gene's action in the brain has profound effects on the metabolism of the whole body.

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    Imagine science that can regenerate damaged spinal cord nerves.

    Prof. Michal Schwartz and her team at the Weizmann Institute developed a treatment to regenerate damaged nerves in the spinal cord. This innovative approach involves boosting the body's natural immune mechanisms to improve the outcome of trauma.

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    Imagine the first vaccine to halt the progression of Type 1 diabetes.

    Weizmann immunologist Prof. Irun Cohen has developed a vaccine that stops the progression of Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes by blocking the destruction of insulin-secreting pancreatic cells. The vaccine is in clinical trials.

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    Imagine science being able to create kidneys for the nearly 80,000 Americans who need transplants annually.

    Stem cell research by Weizmann’s Prof. Yair Reisner yielded the creation of functioning human kidneys in mice, offering hope for patients suffering from organ failure. The ability to “grow” new organs would save untold numbers of lives.

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    Imagine science ending the need for liver transplants by transforming stem cells into new liver cells.

    Weizmann scientists discovered that stem cells in bone marrow can transform into liver cells and help repair a damaged liver – the second most-sought organ for transplantation in the U.S.

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    Imagine science that designs better drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease.

    Weizmann’s Profs. Joel Sussman and Israel Silman discovered the molecular spatial structure of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), a brain enzyme thought to play a crucial role in Alzheimer’s disease. Their research is helping pave the way for the design of novel drugs for this devastating condition.

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    Imagine the discovery of amniocentesis, used to detect genetic conditions in a developing human fetus.

    In 1956, Weizmann Institute Prof. Leo Sachs and his colleagues published a scientific paper that led to the clinical application of amniocentesis, now routinely used all over the world.

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    Imagine science that develops a hearing aid based on the true structure of the human ear.

    Weizmann scientists have found that a membrane in the inner ear is rigid at one end and flexible at the other—a gradation that may allow the ear to distinguish between frequencies. This could lead to the ability to correct some forms of hearing impairment and may enable the design of better hearing aids.

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    Imagine science that reveals physical processes inside the human body through advanced imaging scans.

    In the 1950s, Weizmann Institute laboratories yielded heavy-oxygen water for the study of basic processes such as respiration, brain chemistry, and photosynthesis. Today, this technology is used in advanced medical imaging scans such as positron emission tomography (PET).

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    Imagine science that can screen for schizophrenia with a simple blood test.

    A Weizmann scientist developed a blood test that may be used to screen for schizophrenia. The mental disorder, which affects more than two million Americans, is currently diagnosed only through behavioral methods.

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    Imagine science using algae to create a food product with anti-cancer properties.

    A beta-carotene-based health food product with possible anti-cancer properties is derived from Dunaliella algae through a process developed at the Weizmann Institute.

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    Imagine science in chemistry worthy of the Nobel Prize.

    The Weizmann Institute’s Prof. Ada Yonath won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for deciphering the structure and function of the ribosome, the cell’s protein factory. Her achievement helps clarify the exact mode of action of antibiotic drugs and is aiding in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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    Imagine science that could change the future of gene therapy.

    A Weizmann scientist revealed that the positioning of nucleosomes – spheres of DNA compressed around proteins and strung like beads along the chromosomes – is encoded in the genes themselves. This discovery, which received global attention, may help in designing gene therapies.

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    Imagine science that helps people with MS live longer, healthier lives.

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects 2.5 million people worldwide. Copaxone® and Rebif®, two FDA-approved drugs that are now frontline treatments for MS, were developed thanks to Weizmann research.

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    Imagine science designing an artificial enzyme that can undergo evolution and change.

    Prof. Dan Tawfik and his team of Weizmann scientists successfully designed artificial enzymes that undergo “evolution” in a test tube, with exponentially faster reaction rates. This achievement opens the door to the development of numerous potential applications in medicine and industry.

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    Imagine science that may prevent brain damage from head injury, stroke, or disease.

    When the brain is injured, a neurotransmitter called glutamate floods the brain, damaging it. Weizmann’s Prof. Vivian Teichberg has developed a method that causes the excess glutamate to exit the brain quickly and pass harmlessly into the blood.