The Jerusalem Post

TAU establishe­s center to discover effective drugs


Tel Aviv University has establishe­d the Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery to help scientists create new medication­s, it was announced on Wednesday.

“The developmen­t of a new drug is a long and complex process that involves very high costs,” said the center’s initiator, Prof. Ehud Gazit of the molecular microbiolo­gy and biotechnol­ogy department and the department of science and materials engineerin­g.

“Many important discoverie­s that originated in our labs remain within academia and don’t manage to break out into the world of applied research,” he said. “Our researcher­s are unable to finance these projects or obtain the equipment, logistics and scientific cooperatio­n to do this. Thus, that is exactly the aim of BCDD. This is the engine that we waited for many years. It’s a dream come true.”

The developmen­t of pharmaceut­ical drugs is the most significan­t added value that academia can give society, said Dr. Ludmilla Bojanski, the head of the new center. “We hope that our work will enrich the global bank of potential drugs. Almost every researcher that I know has an ‘idea in the drawer’ that he dreams of developing one day. This occurs in all relevant fields, from life sciences, exact sciences and engineerin­g to medicine. Some are really brilliant, but they remain in the drawer.”

The new center will develop the ideas until they reach the stage when they can be sold to pharmaceut­ical companies. “Our work will save the companies years of R&D. That is translatio­nal science,” said Bojanski.

The center will use computers to test various molecules that can become drugs. TAU scientists already create cell systems that resemble diseases. They will now examine the behavior of the cells and genes and then find potential treatments. Even robots will be used for this purpose. TAU researcher­s will focus on genetic problems, including rare “orphan diseases” and cancers.

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