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£1.5m boost for Israeli and UK scientists combating disease

The programme, established six years ago, is a British Council initiative, in partnership with the British Embassy in Israel, the Pears Foundation and charity UJIA

    British and Israeli scientists will develop stem cell therapies to treat diabetes, heart disease, leukaemia, anaemia and Alzheimer’s (GETTY)
    British and Israeli scientists will develop stem cell therapies to treat diabetes, heart disease, leukaemia, anaemia and Alzheimer’s (GETTY)

    Four new joint projects by Israeli and British scientists to develop stem cell therapies have been awarded a £1.5 million grant by the British Council.

    The projects, which focus on treating diabetes, heart disease, leukaemia, anaemia and Alzheimer’s, are the latest additions to the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange programme (Birax).

    The programme, established six years ago, is a British Council initiative, in partnership with the British Embassy in Israel, the Pears Foundation and charity UJIA.

    The new round of funded projects will bring together scientists from the University of Edinburgh, the Weizmann Institute for Science, the Technion–Israel Institute for Technology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Exeter University, the University of Cambridge and the University of Glasgow.

    David Quarrey, the UK ambassador to Israel, said the new projects would help to “make the world’s most debilitating diseases a thing of the past”.

    Sir Trevor Pears, founder of the Pears Foundation, added: “The Birax Initiative continues to earn its reputation as a successful model for promoting academic collaboration between the UK and Israel through its commitment to science excellence.

    “We are delighted about the new collaborations and we are proud to be one of the initial supporters of this important initiative that will have an enduring impact and legacy.”

    Charity Weizmann UK will fund 50 percent of the grant awarded to Dr Elisa Laurenti, University of Cambridge and Dr Liran Shlush, Weizmann Institute of Science for their collaboration exploring how ageing affects the blood and immune system.

    Sheridan Gould, Weizmann UK executive director, said: “Weizmann UK is delighted to be able to support this fascinating research project which brings together scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science and the University of Cambridge.

    "Facilitating collaboration between the UK and Israel is a core part of our mission. Projects like this really go to show that science knows no boundaries.”

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