Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. Zelig Eshhar

2017 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Life Sciences
In Field: Cancer research

Prof. Zelig Eshhar

Jury Statement

“The Emet Prize is awarded to Prof. Zelig Eshhar for his revolutionary research in genetic engineering methodology aimed at the destruction of cancerous cells, which has been successfully used to treat hundreds of patients.”



  1. Zelig Eshhar was born in 1941. Following his army service, he received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Agricultural Biology from the Hebrew University, specializing in the isolation, analysis and characterization of polyphosphate granules as a source of energy storage in bacteria. He completed his Ph.D. at the Department of Chemical Immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science under the supervision of Professors Michael Sela and David Givol. There he developed a new method to prepare an anti-lymphocytic serum (ALS) to inhibit T-cell rejection of foreign tissue. He completed his Post doctorate in cancer research at the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, identifying ferritin as a cancer associated antigen for Hodgkin's disease. Upon his return to Israel he established an independent laboratory and continued his research at the Weizmann Institute.

Over the years, he served in numerous academic positions, including Chair of the Department of Immunology at the Weizmann Institute; Visiting Professor at the Tel Aviv University Medical School; Scientific Advisory Board member at Kite Pharma, L.A.; Chief Scientist, Co-founder and Head of Scientific Advisory Board at Pharma Israel; Board Member of the European Society of Gene Therapy and member of various professional committees in Israel and abroad.

He has produced over 110 papers, which focus on re-direction of the immune system to recognize and reject cancerous tumors. His research has been published in leading scientific journals and has generated 13 patents, most of which are in use today in the treatment of cancer.

His work has won him awards and citations, including the Massry Prize,the Teva Award for Excellence in memory of Eli Hurwitz, the Israel Prize and the Novartis Prize in Basic Immunology. He has also been awarded research grants and was a Research Fellow at various institutes throughout the world.