Nobel winners join Israelis in £10m campaign on disease

Dozens of Britain's top scientists flew to Israel this week to launch a major research project into regenerative medicine.

They joined around 200 Israelis at Ben Gurion University to share methods of tackling heart disease and Parkinson's disease using cell and gene therapies and tissue and biomedical engineering techniques.

The visit marked the launch of the British Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership's (Birax) which hopes to raise £10 million for 15 joint research projects in the next five years.

Scientists working with the group include four Nobel prize winners, members of the House of Lords and university presidents.

British ambassador Matthew Gould told delegates: "I am incredibly proud that there are 60 British scientists here from 20 universities. I think it's something quite remarkable.

"We both have disproportionate numbers of Nobel prize winners, we've both got amazing labs doing extraordinary things at the cutting edge of almost every field.

"But in my eyes, there isn't the level of collaboration between British and Israeli scientists that there could be. There is a lot of fantastic collaboration going on, but it's not anywhere near its full potential."

He said he hoped the project would "forge links between the countries, and be able to do something for the wider good by working together. It will lay a foundation for an Israeli-British partnership in regenerative medicine that can become a real global force".

    Last updated: 12:57pm, November 24 2011