Historical Perspective

In 2005, the Technion established the Center for Cancer Research and Vascular Biology, aided by generous gifts from friends of the ATS Western Region headed by David and Janet Polak. The center provided home to Distinguished Prof. Aaron Ciechanover, Prof. Israel Vlodavsky, Prof. Gera Neufeld, and Associate Prof. Amir Orian, some of the Technion’s top talents in cancer research. The funding supported state-of-the-art laboratories, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and highly-trained technicians, enabling these leading scientists to carry out their very best work.
The center has been an integral part of the Technion Rappaport Family Faculty of Medicine and the Rappaport Research Institute.  Over the past 10 years the Center has trained nearly 150 graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, clinical fellows, and visiting students and scientists that are the heart of its research. Research of all members of the Center has also been supported by highly competitive national and international funding agencies. The studies performed in the Center have been published in numerous manuscripts, many of them in leading scientific periodicals, and more than 10 patents have been registered. Some of these patents have been licensed to pharmaceutical companies that are currently developing novel anti-cancer drugs.
However, with time it has become clear that even with this great success, it will be difficult to solve the complexity of the disease with a small nucleus of researchers.  Modern biology evolved mostly along the recent decade taught us that research on the disease must be interdisciplinary in nature.  Addition of several critical disciplines and strengthening of its core of researchers is required.  Thus, a strong clinical arm with access to human tissues and the ability to perform clinical trials has become a must.
Accordingly, we established collaborations with the Technion affiliated hospitals, in efforts to implement personalized medicine, using state of the art technologies.  Likewise, the development of novel drugs, based on discoveries made by our faculty require a concerted and coordinated collaboration with the engineering arm of the Technion (e.g. chemical, electric, biomedical).   The basic cancer research arm is being strengthened by recruiting experts in areas such as metabolism, autophagy and translation. Recognizing that these additions will need new space and supporting infrastructural facilities (e.g. animal, imaging, sequencing, genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) have put the foundation for the Technion’s Integrated Cancer Center (TICC). TICC will promote the inter-disciplinary collaboration between the basic science, engineering, and clinical groups, to tackle the complexity of cancer to enable novel advances in understanding fundamental mechanisms and offer innovative therapeutic modalities.