Israel Prize in Life Sciences

To Prof. Yosef Yarden

People behind the science

Date: March 26, 2017
Weizmann Magazine Vol. 11

Prof. Yosef Yarden, a member of the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Biological Regulation, has been awarded the 2017 Israel Prize in Life Sciences.

The Prize, which is the country’s highest honor, will be presented to Prof. Yarden in celebration of his crucial discoveries about the biochemistry of cancer, in a festive ceremony on Israel Independence Day.

Over the course of his career, Prof. Yarden has made a significant and original contribution to the understanding of cancer, and has paved the way for new treatment protocols that have entered into clinical practice and saved lives. Focusing on the activity of hormone-like molecules called growth factors, Prof. Yarden’s discoveries have led to the development of several successful anti-cancer drugs.

Israel Prize in Life Sciences To Prof. Yosef Yarden Much of Prof. Yarden’s research is centered on EGFR and HER2, which belong to a family of growth factor receptors that play a critical role in tumor progression. As a result of his work, several strategies for blocking these receptors were devised and approved for use with cancer patients.

Most recently, the Yarden lab has been investigating strategies for circumventing the resistance that some lung cancer patients develop to anti-cancer immunotherapy. Combining an antibody that blocks EFGR activity with two additional monoclonal antibodies, Prof. Yarden successfully inhibited cancer cell proliferation in a mouse model of lung cancer, and slowed overall tumor growth. This “triple antibody” methodology may someday form the basis of tailormade, personalized strategies for combating cancer in humans.

An alumnus of the Institute who completed his PhD in 1985, Prof. Yarden has been a faculty member since 1988. He has served as Dean of the Faculty of Biology (1997-1999), Vice President for Academic Affairs (1999-2001), the first Director of the MD Moross Institute for Cancer Research (1999-2001), and Dean of the Feinberg Graduate School (2001-2007). He is the director of the Dwek Institute for Cancer Therapy Research of the Moross Integrated Cancer Center and is the Harold and Zelda Goldenberg Professor of Molecular Cell Biology.

Prof. Yarden is the recipient of a large number of prestigious awards, including the MERIT Award of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, and the 2007 EMET Prize in Biochemistry.


Prof. Yosef Yarden is funded by Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundtion, The Dwek Institute for Cancer Therapy Research, which he heads, Rising Tide Foundation, Marvin Tanner Laboratory for Research on Cancer, Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Biology Endowment. Prof. Yarden is the incumbent of the Harold and Zelda Goldenberg Professorial Chair in Molecular Biology.