LIFE SCIENCE PHILANTHROPY

Aurum Ventures provides financing and other managerial resources to healthcare companies in all stages of development. Aurum Ventures’ focus is on breakthrough technologies, whether pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics or digital health. Aurum is continually entering into novel ventures and has a strong track record of partnering with portfolio companies to ensure adequate business, regulatory and clinical strategy, as well as timely execution. Aurum will invest either alone or co- invest with other reliable partners either in a lead or follower position. Aurum will invest in both early and late stage projects, but our geographical focus is upon Israeli and Israel related opportunities

Ben Gurion University of the Negev  - Prof. Ohad Birk

Study of the genetic basis of disease among the Bedouins

Under the auspices of the Morris Kahn Laboratory of Human Genetics, Prof. Ohad Birk and his team have deciphered the molecular basis of nearly 30 genetic diseases, including some of the most severe and common hereditary diseases in Jewish communities (Sephardic Jews, and Jews of Moroccan and Iraqi ancestry) in Israel and throughout the world. The results of the research led to the development of screening tests for an early detection of said diseases and have thus significantly reduced infant mortality as a result thereof and have almost completely extinguished some of these diseases.

Ben Gurion University of the Negev - NIBN

The National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev

The National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev is a national center of excellence focusing on inter-disciplinary research with biotechnological applications. Its goal is to lead to the growth of successful biotechnological industries in the state of Israel, in general, and in the Negev, in particular. Morris Kahn, who took an active role in the establishment of the Institute, decided to incorporate the Morris Kahn Laboratory of Human Genetics, focusing on research of the genetic basis of human diseases, and move it under the umbrella of the Institute. This major step enabled the Institute to significantly expand the scope of its activity and the number of its researchers.

Sheba Medical Center at Tel-Hashomer - Prof. Dror Meirov

Obstetrics and Gynecology,– Fertility preservation for women undergoing anti-cancer treatments

An innovative treatment supported by Morris Kahn and offered by the fertility center enables fertility preservation in women, adolescents and even young girls diagnosed with cancer. Before undergoing lifesaving treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which cause infertility, a simple procedure is employed to remove a healthy layer of the ovary from the body and freeze it. After therapy is completed the healthy tissue is re-implanted in the body. A major advantage of this method is that when the ovary regains normal function these women are able to conceive several times without additional treatments.

Bar Ilan University – Returning Promising Scientists to Israel

Morris Kahn decided to help bringing back to Israel promising scientists. For this purpose Morris Kahn funded the establishment of state-of-the-art advanced laboratory infrastructure according to international standards similar to what is offered to Israeli scientists abroad, thus enabling them to proceed with their innovative research activity in Israel and contribute to its success. 

The Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center - The Morris Kahn Medical Research Center

Center for Bionformatics and Big Data

Inspired by Morris Kahn’s vision for scientific and clinical research, the Morris Kahn Center for Research in Personalized Medicine at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center is discovering innovations that touch the world of biology and medicine. At the Morris Kahn Center, globally prominent and promising scientists, researchers and doctors conduct groundbreaking research in ultra-modern laboratories. Located on the 10th floor of the Sammy Ofer Heart Building, the center places research talent in close proximity, with vital support services, technologies and resources, setting the stage for accelerated multi-disciplinary collaboration. Working to decode medicine’s most challenging enigmas, the Morris Kahn Center for Research in Personalized Medicine is opening up a world of possibilities for today’s beneficiaries and for future generations.

The Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center – The Orion Project   

for young excellent physician – scientists

The Orion grants program was established in order to  promote outstanding physicians who wish to conduct basic and applied research in parallel to their clinical work.

This unique program enables doctors to be involved in the development of independent research in their particular field of expertise. As the research is performed within the hospital, this program is expected to promote the quality of research in the hospital as well as the quality and expertise of the participating doctors.  

Each physician is entitled to a personal grant of NIS 500,000 over a 5 year  period, during which the doctors carry out the research in existing laboratories. Senior scientific mentors accompany the researchers-physicians, providing guidance according to the applicable field of study.

Each year three new young physicians join the program; Graduates of the program are expected to attain a senior academic position via a regular academic track, and upon completion of the program establish an independent research laboratory, recruiting research grants and other external resources for research, in parallel to advancing their clinical capabilities and expertise in their field

Hebrew University – Yissum – Prof. Yuval Dor

Prof. Dor’s project focused on the development of a novel method for identifying the tissue sources of cell-free circulating DNA (i.e. free DNA found in the blood) that originates from dying cells. The approach is based on defining DNA fragments that carry tissue-specific methylation patterns, and identifying these in DNA circulating in blood plasma.

Using this approach, the researchers are able to identify, through DNA methylation analysis in blood samples, events of cell death taking place under physiological and pathological conditions. For example, the presence of cardiac-derived circulating DNA in the plasma of people after myocardial infarction; pancreatic DNA in people with metastatic as well as local pancreatic cancer; oligodendrocyte DNA in the plasma of people with relapsing multiple sclerosis; and more.  It is anticipated that, with further optimization, the method may have a broad impact on studies of human tissue dynamics as well as disease diagnosis and monitoring

Sheba Medical Center at Tel-Hashomer - Prof. Gidi Rechavi

The Center for Cancer Research – Involvement of stem cells in Cancer

The tumor stem cell research, supported by Morris Kahn, was led by the Institute's director, Prof. Gideon Rechavi. Normal stem cells are capable of renewing themselves through cell division without limit, and under certain conditions they may quite easily become cancer stem cells. These cells are capable of creating tumors. Another difficult problem caused by such cells is the ability to develop resistance to chemotherapy. The research focused on the identification of said cells and on understanding the molecular processes conferring such properties on them. The intention of the researchers, led by Prof. Rechavi, was to offer a therapy in which only cancer stem cells are targeted rather than all tumor cells. Cancer researchers currently regard cancer stem cells as major contributors to rapid tumor growth and to consequent death from the disease. At that time many researches had doubts as to the mere existence of cancer stem cells and therefore, to the benefit of said research approach. Nevertheless, and relying on his intuition, Morris Kahn decided to support the research, and indeed, its results proved the correctness of the research underlying concept and revolutionized the approach to cancer therapy.

Weizmann Institute of Science – Dr. Ziv Shulman

The Morris Kahn Institute for Human Immunology

Morris Kahn Institute for Human Immunology:

The Morris Kahn Institute for Human Immunology is dedicated to understanding acquired immunity, i.e. how the immune system protects the body from invading pathogens. The center focuses on investigating cellular and molecular interactions that underlie the antibody mediated immune response against infectious pathogens, in response to vaccination and during intestinal immune response. In addition, the Institute scientists harness the emerging new findings for the design of immunotherapeutic strategies. By elucidating the cellular and molecular components involved in successful immune responses, the researchers aim to pave the way for new approaches for manipulating the immune system and directing it against tumors.

Tel Aviv University – Prof. Ronit Satchi Fainero

3D Printed Cancer Modeling Project

In an endeavor to shift the trajectory of cancer research toward more successful drug development, Ronit Satchi_Fainaro’s  laboratory seeks to establish precise 3D-Printed Cancer Models. This research project rests on investigating live tumor samples in a 3D environment that more closely mimics the actual natural structure, environment and conditions under which a malignant tumor grows compared to the traditional “2D” approaches. For the bio-printing process, the lab researchers engineer an array of polymer-based biocompatible hydrogels, which provide oxygen and other nutrients to keep the cells viable. The novel 3D-engineered tumor tissues are composed of different extracellular matrices and a multitude of cell types, including patient-derived tumor cells, local stroma (e.g. fibroblasts, tumor endothelium) and systemic immune stroma flowing in functional tumor vasculature. This approach could potentially revolutionize cancer target discovery, drug screening and development of new therapeutics.k here 

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