Prize for Senior Israeli Researcher:
Professor David Wallach
Professor David Wallach of the Weizmann Institute of Science was awarded the Rappaport Prize for his contribution to the study of Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) signaling mechanisms, a factor in the development of necrosis and for his laying the foundations for the development of treatment and medication for chronic inflammatory diseases. Wallach’s study of almost thirty years has shed light on the mechanisms of cell destruction and tissue inflammation. His study, during which specific molecules involved in the body’s natural defense mechanisms were identified, provided the basis for developing a drug that is widely used in the treatment of psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and even in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. His research has also contributed to the development of antibodies for use as medication to inhibit TNF activity. The success of the implementation of these TNF activity inhibiting drugs paved the way for new research into the development of biological drugs which work by blocking the action of other cytokines (small proteins which operate like hormones and whose job is to reboot the immune system, but which also can cause autoimmune damage). These drugs ease the symptoms of various chronic inflammatory diseases.