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Improving Health & Medicine

Science for the Future of 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 for the individual 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

  • Weizmann research led to two of the first-line drugs for MS: Copaxone® and Rebif®
  • Chances of pregnancy double after our biopsy-based fertility treatment 
  • Prof. Ada Yonath: first woman in 45 years-just the fourth in history-to win the Nobel in Chemistry, and the first Israeli female laureate 

Selected Achievements

Imagine science that doubles the chances of conception for women with fertility problems.

An Institute biologist 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 all over the world.

Imagine science that unravels Alzheimer’s disease.

Prof. Michal Schwartz pioneered an immune-based therapy that eliminates the tangled plaques seen in Alzheimer’s disease. She and colleagues are also developing a vaccine that reverses some of the effects of Alzheimer’s, helping restore cognitive abilities and brain cells.

Imagine science that creates kidneys for people in need of a transplant.

Prof. Yair Reisner used stem cells to create functioning human kidneys in mice, offering hope for patients suffering from organ failure and in need of a transplant. The ability to grow new organs would save untold numbers of lives.

Imagine science worthy of the Nobel Prize.

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 how antibiotic drugs work, and is aiding in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Imagine science that can keep you flu-free… for years.

Prof. Ruth Arnon’s universal flu vaccine could shield us against all strains of the virus, for several years, with a single shot. The vaccine is currently in late-stage clinical trials.

Imagine science that heals the mind.

A Weizmann scientist identified a molecule that plays a role in depression and anxiety–and affects response to antidepressants. Given that only a small number of patients are helped by today’s mental-health medications, this molecule could lead to important new therapies.

Imagine science that personalizes your diet.

While studying the microbiome–the mostly good “bugs” in our gut–our scientists discovered that people can respond differently to the same food. Working with Yale, the Mayo Clinic, and Johnson & Johnson, they created an algorithm that analyzes microbiomes to craft individualized diets.

Imagine science that can renew damaged hearts.

A Weizmann scientist discovered a molecule, agrin, that can regenerate injured heart tissue. When used on damaged hearts, agrin appeared to unlock the renewal process and enable heart muscle repair.

Imagine science that diagnoses autism… using the senses.

Discovering that autistic and neurotypical children process smells differently, a Weizmann scientist developed a “sniff test” that identified autistic kids with 81% accuracy. By helping diagnose autism at a very young age, this simple, noninvasive procedure would allow for earlier intervention.

Imagine science that leads to amniocentesis.

In 1956, Weizmann Institute scientists published a scientific paper that led to the clinical application of amniocentesis, now routinely used worldwide to detect genetic issues in the developing fetus.

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

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