Marvel Entertainment CEO Isaac Perlmutter and his wife Laura have donated $9 million as part of a grant to fund cancer research at NYU Langone Medical Center and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
The first $3 million will finance six cancer-focused research projects that will be conducted by teams spearheaded by co-investigators from both NYU Langone and the Technion. The joint venture between the two institutions was formed as a way to attract additional world-class support from institutions and individuals who are dedicated to eradicating cancer through focused and efficient research.
The remaining $6 million of the Perlmutters’ grant will be used to establish a state-of-the-art research facility at the Technion’s campus in Israel and have a principal focus on the emerging field of cancer metabolomics.
“Bringing together the unique expertise of researchers from both NYU and the Technion will hopefully enable us to overcome some of the most difficult challenges in treating cancer patients,” said Technion distinguished professor Aaron Ciechanover, the 2004 Nobel Prize Laureate in chemistry, and distinguished research professor and head of the David and Janet Polak Cancer and Vascular Biology Research Center at the Technion Faculty of Medicine.
The Perlmutters have long championed cancer research. In January 2014, the two donated more than $50 million to advance cancer research and treatment at NYU Langone. NYU Langone renamed the NYU Cancer Institute the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center as part of the gift. The two also both serve as members of the board of trustees at NYU Langone.
The Perlmutters also have backed Israeli institutions like the Technion to spearhead many of the world’s advances in medicine, science and technology.
“Ike and I have long sought for ways to link the state-of-the-art scientific and research advances being made in Israel with our deep commitment to NYU Langone Medical Center,” Laura Perlmutter said. “The partnership between the Technion and NYU Langone allows us to launch a focused cancer research and treatment approach. We are confident that this collaborative effort, which avoids duplication of research initiatives and creates efficiencies among marquee donors and researchers, will lead to dramatic results in the fight against this terrible disease.”
The Perlmutter grant coincides with the appointments of cancer biologist Benjamin Neel, an expert in the field of cell signal transduction, who joined the NYU Langone faculty as director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center. Eyal Gottlieb, a world leader in cancer metabolism, also has been recruited to lead the new research facility at the Technion. Dr. Neel will work closely with Prof. Ciechanover to lead the collaborative cancer research effort between the two institutions.
In addition, Neel will oversee at NYU Langone the building of translational programs in immunotherapy, cancer genetics-targeted therapies and epigenetics and imaging, as well as expanded programs in clinical care, community outreach and supportive oncology. He previously served as director of the Ontario Cancer Institute at Princess Margaret Cancer Center, a position he held since 2007.
Gottlieb currently serves as director of the Cancer Metabolism Research Unit at the Cancer Research U.K., Beatson Institute in Glasgow, Scotland. His work principally focuses on cancer metabolism and metabolomics, combining analytical chemistry with basic cancer research to explore metabolic adaptations and vulnerabilities of cancer and with it, new potential clinical approaches for cancer treatment.
“NYU Langone and the Technion have a shared, longstanding commitment to advancing cancer research,” said Dafna Bar-Sagi, senior VP and vice dean for science at NYU Langone, chief science officer at NYU School of Medicine, and a principal architect of the NYU Langone-Technion partnership. “We are now at a great moment in our institutions’ illustrious histories, a point from which we can jointly leverage the talent and creativity of our researchers toward accelerating breakthroughs. The foresight and the generosity of the Perlmutters, particularly at this time of financial challenge in funding for basic research, will have tremendous impact.”