Research Breakthroughs
Prof. Israel Vlodavsky

Professor Israel Vlodavsky


Professor Israel Vlodavsky, ICA-financed researcher, was born (August 1944) in Haifa, Israel. He received his B.Sc and M.Sc. degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his Ph.D. from the Wiezmann Institute. Following postdoctoral training at UCLA and UCSF, he attained an academic position at the Sharett Oncology Institute of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, where he established the Tumor Biology Research Unit.

He then served as a visiting professor at Harvard and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. From 2002 until today, he has been heading (under a joint agreement with Hadassah) the Cancer & Vascular Biology Research Center of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion.

Professor Vlodavsky's long-term research in the area of cancer metastasis led to the cloning of a human gene encoding an enzyme (heparanase) that degrades an abundant polysaccharide constituent (heparan sulfate) of the vessel wall and extracellular matrix.


Clearly, the research team headed by Vlodavsky is the pioneering and world leading group in this area of research. Enhanced heparanase expression was found to be causally associated with the metastatic potential of cancer cells, tumor angiogenesis and reduced postoperative survival of cancer patients. These observations indicate heparanase as a promising target for a rational design of inhibitory compounds and antibodies that enhance early detection and treatment of cancer patients.

In fact, the research team headed by Professor Vlodavsky has already developed heparanase-inhibiting compounds and strategies. One of these compounds is highly effective in experimental models of myeloma and will enter a clinical trial in 2009. Professor Vlodavsky has supervised 24 students to a Ph.D. degree. The results of his long term research were published in more than 350 scientific papers and presented (plenary lectures) in over 130 international conferences.


Professor Vlodavsky is regarded as a pioneer in the area of cell interaction with the extracellular matrix and the significance of the tumor microenvironment in cancer progression.


In recognition of his scientific achievements, Israel was awarded prestigious awards (e.g., Elkeles, Teva, Taub, Landau) and his research is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Professor Vlodavsky is a research professor of the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), and a member of international and national scientific committees and granting agencies.                                       

Professor Israel Vlodavsky