The Helmsley Charitable Trust has announced a three-year, $3.3 million matching grant to Tel Aviv University in support of research on personalized "theranostic" nanomedicines.

Awarded through the Tel Aviv University Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Nanotechnology Research Fund, the grant will provide matching funds for monies received from the government-supported Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative to launch a research consortium focused on developing a combined system of diagnostic and therapeutic treatments for cancer and cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. The goal of the initiative is to design a new class of drugs that can destroy faulty proteins without adverse consequences for the patient.

Comprised of eleven laboratories — eight led by TAU, with additional participation from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar-Ilan University, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev — the consortium will work to accelerate breakthroughs in personalized medicine by developing nano-sized drug delivery systems. The project will be led by Dan Peer, head of the TAU Laboratory of Nanomedicine, who, with Rimona Margalit, developed a nano-sized vehicle that can deliver chemotherapy drugs directly to cancer cells while avoiding interaction with healthy cells.

"Together, the INNI and Helmsley Charitable Trust awards put the spotlight on the pioneering work being done by Tel Aviv University scientists and provide greater access to collaborations with similarly talented international communities," said TAU president Yossi Klafter. "That means more progress in the very promising field of nanotechnology — and at a much faster rate."