A new integrative cancer research institute will be built at Rabin Medical Center‘s Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva with a $34 million donation — the largest in Israeli history to fund cancer research.
Under the roof of the hospital’s Davidoff Center for the Treatment and Research of Cancer –which treats one in every seven Israeli cancer patients — the institute will house cancer clinicians as well as experts in behavioral sciences, data and artificial intelligence.
The future Samueli Integrative Cancer Pioneering Institute is named in honor of a $25 million donation from California-based philanthropists Dr. Susan and Dr. Henry Samueli. The remaining $9 million comes from Clalit Health Services, Israel’s largest HMO with about 5 million members.
As part of Clalit Health Services, the Samueli Institute will have access to the country’s largest database of cancer patients.
This will enable researchers to create what is described as the world’s first cancer-related, comprehensive “data lake” (centralized repository of raw data) to propel fast-track innovations.
Prof. Gal Markel, head of the Davidoff Center and chairman of the Samueli Integrative Cancer Pioneering Institute, explains that although the data lake “cannot be an open source because of patient privacy, under proper approvals it will serve as an excellent hub for collaborations and partnership.”
Markel tells ISRAEL21c that the institute is unique in the world for two reasons.
First, because of “the scientific integration of the whole-person approach, translational biology, behavioral sciences and data science powered by AI,” and secondly because it is “part of a cancer hospital that is part of a large HMO that covers the continuum of care — hospital-community-home.”
These features reflect current thinking in cancer research that next-level solutions will emanate from the integration of the complete patient journey from diagnosis through treatment to recovery, powered by advanced artificial intelligence.
Infrastructure development for the institute has begun, including state-of-the-art GMP (good manufacturing practices) laboratories.
Beilinson CEO Dr. Eytan Wirtheim said the institute “is keen to form partnerships and collaborations with the global cancer community, including academia, health organizations, industry and foundations – to transform cancer care and create a new future for cancer patients.”
In a press statement, the Samuelis said, “We expect the institute, under Dr. Markel’s leadership, to challenge existing care paradigms and create a better future for cancer patients inside of Israel and beyond. The true measure of success will be the adoption of these approaches by other leading institutes throughout the world.”