Professor wins Israel Prize for 'groundbreaking' electric cancer therapy

Palti, a physiology and biophysics professor at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, developed a "groundbreaking" electrodes-based treatment of a number of cancers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin and Education Minister Yoav Galant attend the Israel Prize ceremony in Jerusalem, prior to Israel's 73 Independence Day, on April 05, 2021.  (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin and Education Minister Yoav Galant attend the Israel Prize ceremony in Jerusalem, prior to Israel's 73 Independence Day, on April 05, 2021.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Prof. Yoram Palti is the 2022 Israel Prize winner in the fields of technology and innovation, Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton announced on Wednesday.

Palti, a physiology and biophysics professor at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, developed a "groundbreaking" electricity-based treatment of a number of cancers, Israel Prize's selection committee said.

The method involves the use of Tumor Treating Fields, or TTFields, which are electric fields that can disrupt the division of cancer cells in the body.

The fields, specifically tuned to target cancer cells, attract and repel charged proteins during cancer cell division.

Palti's TTFields method allows for the treatment of large solid cancer tumors, whether they are benign or malignant, with no damage caused to normal cells around the abnormal growth. 

 Scan photos of a tumor; in it you can see cancerous cells that are colored in purple. (credit: Nucleai) Scan photos of a tumor; in it you can see cancerous cells that are colored in purple. (credit: Nucleai)

Palti's "outside-the-box thinking and belief in the process" caused him to transform currently-held beliefs and perceptions in the field, the committee said. 

Prof. Palti is currently working to "increase the technology's use for the treatment more forms of cancers," the committee added.

The professor developed the technology at medical electronics company NovoCure, which was founded by Palti in 2000.