Prof. Eli Keshet is to be awarded the Israel Prize in life sciences this year for his contributions to the development of treatments for a wide range of diseases, Education Minister Yoav Gallant announced on Thursday.
Keshet, a professor of molecular biology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's medical school, was awarded the prestigious prize for his “pioneering contribution” to understanding the mechanism in which conditions of an oxygen shortage prompt the growth of new blood vessels. This process has “far-reaching effects on the development of many diseases such retinal diseases and cancer,” said the prize committee.
The prize jury, headed by biochemist Prof. Yosef Yarden of the Weizmann Institute of Science, said Keshet’s discoveries “led to the recognition that an excess of oxygen given in treating premature babies leads to their becoming blind, and has brought about a change in the treatment of premature babies after their birth.”
Keshet’s research has also led to the identification of the main factor responsible for the promotion of the growth of new blood vessels into cancerous growths, which has “contributed to the development of medications that delay the development of tumors,” said the committee.