Sheba Medical Center – Research and Development

Success stories milestones

The Sheba Medical Center (SMC), Israel’s major hospital, has made a commitment to clinical excellence, based on a strong research and development  foundation, by investing in professional human resources, infrastructure and facilities. SMC enriches its staff with an optimal working research environment to maximize their clinical as well as R&D products. SMC’s excellence is highly acknowledged  in Israel and throughout the globe.

Throughout the past decade, scientists at SMC have been granted over $ 350 M  in research funds from federal grants, donors and contributors enabling the acceleration of basic and  translational medical research  and generated  intellectual property (IP) engine.  Sheba’s  IP portfolio is mainly in the biomedical domain and spans from  pharmaceuticals, Imaging technology, diagnostic platforms, regenerative medicine, cell therapy and medical devices used in a variety of medical applications. The current SMC IP portfolio has over  135 patent families and include 17 patents with national and international academic Institute.  Our aim is to improve patient health by encouraging research collaboration with the BioMedical industry, and promoting the commercialization of intellectual property generated at the hospital.

Ø  Sheba Medical Center has licensed to the industry over 50% of its patent  portfolio to the industry to develop, produce and sell our innovations to the benefit of the public internationally.

Ø  Ventor, a spinoff from SMC has developed an aortic valve prosthesis. The prosthesis can be implanted into a beating heart using a catheter, under local anesthesia. The valve has a unique geometric shape that improves hemodynamic performance. Ventor was founded based on IP generated by  Prof. Ehud Shvemental of SMC  and major investors, Pitango Venture Capital, Medica, and Shimon Eckhouse. Ventor was acquired by Medtronic in 2009 for 325 M USD.

Ø  Johnson & Johnson has aquired  Omrix Biopharmaceuticals, Inc  in 2009 for 438 M USD. The company has developed and marketed innovative biological glue,  protein-based biosurgical and immunotherapy products, based on Prof. Uriel Martinowich inventions.

Ø  Cancer immunotherapy and gene therapy: In the last ten years we established a program for experimental therapy of malignant melanoma, the tumor that is so far is the most responsive to manipulations of the immune system. Sheba was the first medical center where the approach pioneered by Steven Rosenberg at the National Institutes of Health in the US for the adoptive cell transfer of Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes (TILs) was established and modified in the Ela Melanoma Center. More than one hundred patients with poor prognosis advanced melanoma were treated so far with an overall response rate of 40%. This project enables direct access not only to pathological specimen archives and clinical data, but also to a unique collection of primary cultures of melanoma cells and autologous TIL cultures, which are all linked to the clinical response data.

Ø  Dr. Gal Markel is responsible for research at the Ela Melanoma Center. The main interest of his group is development of innovative lines of immunotherapy and tools for personalized medicine. In one example, they have identified a novel immune evasion mechanism of melanoma cells, which is mediated by the CEACAM1 protein. Following the mechanistic characterization in autologous melanoma-TIL models, they developed a blocking mAb that enhances the anti-melanoma activity of T cells and NK cells in vitro and in vivo. The antibody was licensed to a spin-off company CCAM Therapeutics which was acquired by MSD for 605 Million USD in 2015.

Ø  The use of T cells engineered to express chimeric antibody receptors (CARs). T cells that are reactive against tumors will be generated using genetic engineering, which involves inserting into the T cells genes encoding cell surface receptors that are able to detect tumor associated antigens (TAA). These receptors will be based on chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), comprised of the intracellular signaling portion of a T cell receptor (TCR) linked via hinge and transmembrane domains to an extracellular TAA-specific single-chain antibody variable fragment (scFv). Because they are derived from antibodies, recognition of TAAs by CARs is not MHC restricted. The CARs we plan to use include scFv raised against the CD19 molecule that is expressed on the surface of most lymphatic leukemias and lymphomas. Five medical centers mainly in the US are using CARs in clinical trials and the results obtained in patients that failed many lines of therapy are very promising. SMC has adopted different CARs technologies to be developed for cancer types expressing different tumor associated antigens. An outstanding Israeli physician, Dr. Elad Yaakobi, has initiated unique treatment using CARs technology in child leukemia at Sheba Medical Center.

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