Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter and his wife Laura Perlmutter donated $9 million as part of a grant to fund cancer research at NYU Langone Medical Center and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
Of the total amount, $6 million will fund the creation of a research facility for Technion in Israel, and the other $3 million will fund six separate cancer research projects which have yet to be chosen. The projects will start in spring 2015.
One of the key areas of research for these projects will be cancer metabolomics, which is the study of chemical processes in cells that regulate the breaking down of sugars and fats. Benjamin Neel, a professor of medicine and director of the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, said a good understanding of cancer metabolomics will help advance cancer research.
“Novel imaging approaches, early detection blood tests and new targeted drugs to fight cancer would all be facilitated with a deep and comprehensive understanding of cancer metabolomics,” Neel said.
Collaborative efforts between NYU and the Technion are already underway, and requests for proposals of cancer-related research projects have recently been sent out. Neel said he is excited to work with Technion and, aside from the distance barrier, does not predict any future difficulties.
“The benefits of collaboration include the fact that the Technion is very technology-based; as the ‘MIT of Israel,’ it brings substantial strength in engineering and computational biology to the table,” Neel said. “The Perlmutter Cancer Center has a breadth of expertise in the cell biology and physiology of normal cell proliferation and cancer, which complements the Technion’s strengths.”
Neel said if all goes well the Technion and NYU Langone will continue to collaborate in the future.
“As with any collaborative effort in science, if the initial collaborations are mutually beneficial, they will almost certainly continue in the future,” Neel said.
Jillian Biegel, Gallatin sophomore and Greek Life team ambassador for Colleges Against Cancer at NYU, said she hopes cancer research will turn up promising results.
“My long-term hope is that less people will be diagnosed with cancer each year, and treatments will improve for those who are diagnosed with cancer, and hopefully with the research being funded in Israel, NYU’s funds will be put to good use and make these long-term goals a reality sooner rather than later,” Biegel said.
CAS senior Rachel Kim, a biology major and e-board member of Colleges Against Cancer at NYU, said she was excited to see what would result from the collaborative research.
“Cancer is the same no matter which country you are in, and this partnership acknowledges that this fight is one between cancer and the entire human race,” Kim said.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 25 print edition. Email Amanda Morris at [email protected]