The Weizmann Institute of Science is establishing, on its campus, the Nancy and Stephen Grand Israel National Center for Personalized Medicine. This facility will serve Israel’s entire life sciences and biomedical research community, including academic scientists, MDs working in hospital research labs and researchers in the biomedical industry.
The Center, which is rapidly taking shape thanks to highly generous contributions from a number of Weizmann Institute supporters, aims to realize a future vision of medicine in which treatments will be prescribed not only for a particular disease, but according to each individual’s unique profile. Personalized medicine has the potential, for example, to tailor drugs and treatments for each patient based on his or her genetic makeup, so as to attain the best possible outcome with the fewest side effects.
That future will be based on advanced scientific research methods and technology. Among the existing technologies that will serve the Center’s researchers are the high-throughput systems that enable the analysis of thousands of genes, proteins or potential drug interactions in a short time.
The Center’s four units are currently operating in various temporary labs around the Weizmann campus. These units are: The Crown Institute for Genomics, established by the Crown family, Chicago, IL, USA; the de Botton Institute for Protein Profiling, established by Miel de Botton, UK; the Ilana and Pascal Mantoux Institute for Bioinformatics, established by Ilana and Pascal Mantoux, Israel/France; and the Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Institute for Drug Discovery, established by the Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Charitable Foundation. Within a year, all four will come together in the former “Solar Tower,” which is currently undergoing a major renovation financed by the Wolfson Foundation, UK.
Heading the Center is Dr. Berta Strulovici, a Weizmann alumna who was previously Vice President of Basic Research in charge of building a state-of-the-art Center of Excellence for early drug discovery for Merck Worldwide; she brings valuable experience in team management and high throughput drug discovery to the Center.
Currently, the Center has received donations totaling $120,000,000 from private donations and philanthropic foundations. This includes a most generous pledge of $50,000,000, which was recently made by Nancy and Stephen Grand of San Francisco through the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science (ACWIS). Nancy and Stephen Grand have been unstinting supporters of the Weizmann Institute; their gift will go to support the entire Center, which now bears their name.
Prof. Daniel Zajfman, President of the Weizmann Institute, said that “Stephen and Nancy Grand’s extraordinary gift, together with those already received from the Center’s supporters, is a rare example of the Institute’s friends coming together to achieve a vision that will profoundly influence the future of biomedical research. Because the Center serves the entire Israeli research community, the effects of the studies conducted within its walls will be felt all over the country and well beyond its borders.”