Oncology Clinical Research Unit
The Riva Koschitzky Oncology Clinical Research Unit, recognized as a center of excellence at Sheba Medical Center, supervises the operation of all clinical trials conducted within the Cancer Center. Groundbreaking studies are performed, with results that are translated into the developing innovative treatments and progressive diagnostics. Approximately 160 basic and clinical trials are done yearly, often in conjunction with leading international cancer research facilities. Clinical oncology research at this center enables patients to access innovative treatments not yet available outside of scientific trials.
The Cancer Center – Sheba Medical Center
The Riva Koschitzky Oncology Clinical Research Unit is located in the Cancer Center at Sheba Medical Center, Israel’s leading facility for oncology treatment, radiotherapy and research. Approximately 4500 patients are treated yearly, and thousands of cancer patients visit for follow-up procedures and tests. The clinical staff comprises a roster of world-renowned physicians, all of whom specialize in treating specific types of cancer.
The Cancer Center includes the following departments:
What is Our Mission?
At the Riva Koschitzky Oncology Clinical Research Unit, we are dedicated to performing research trials that meet the highest international standards – scientific and ethical. All studies are conducted by GCP-certified staff. We strive to facilitate the transfer of scientific knowledge into clinical practice, pushing the boundaries of medicine to enhance patient health and inspire hope.
We are strongly committed to collaboration with other national and international cancer research centers. For example, Sheba has a sister institution relationship with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, in which technologies and knowledge are shared between both institutions. Additionally, patients at both cancer centers can participate in clinical trials conducted on novel therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostic devices.
What Do Our Laboratories Offer?
The Laboratory Division at our clinical oncology research unit comprises 35 laboratories that cover all medical specialties, including clinical biochemistry, hematology and clotting, bacteriology, virology, pathology, toxicology and clinical pharmacology, blood bank and transfusion medicine, endocrinology, histology, human genetics, hemodynamics, molecular diagnostics and emergency testing. Ten of our laboratories are accredited by the Israel Laboratory Accreditation Authority, compliant with ISO 15189 standards.
The research infrastructure at Sheba Medical Center includes:
- The Institutional Tissue Bank (ITB), which provides researchers with high-quality and well-annotated bio-specimens (plasma, fresh frozen, paraffin embedded)
- Good Tissue Culture Practice Laboratory (GTP)
- Specific pathogen free animal house (SPF)
- Close interaction with the Cancer Research Center at Sheba
- Molecular diagnostics lab
We also feature a Center for Translational Research in Radiation Oncology, with a fully equipped radiobiology lab (including a small animal irradiator) for designing and conducting early phase clinical trials involving radiation therapy.
The Riva Koschitzky Oncology Clinical Research Unit is divided into two highly specialized sections that conduct precise academic or industry sponsored trials:
1. Early-Phase Research
The unit for Early Phase Trials was established in 2009, for the sake of testing new drugs and treatments. Merck Sharp & Dohme selected Sheba’s center to be a part of its global network of 19 leading cancer centers for early phase R&D. Our unit is a referral center for oncology phase I clinical trials.
A specialized, highly qualified staff (medical director, clinical research manager, two dedicated study coordinators, a study nurse) operates this unit. Additionally, the Ministry of Health has established a special fast approval process for oncology phase I trials.
2. Late-Phase Research
Studies at this unit are initiated by institute researchers and conducted in partnership with a variety of multinational pharmaceutical firms, international oncological associations and startup ventures. It also operates in close cooperation with other hospital departments, such as imaging, pathology, nuclear medicine and pharmacy. Currently, about 60 oncological Phase II, III, and IV clinical trials are underway; approximately 25 new trials are approved annually, and 100-200 new patients are enrolled each year. Research inception time is short – about 4-5 months from submission to approval. All external audits have been successful.
The Department Manager
Prof. Raanan Berger, MD, Ph.D
Director, The Cancer Center
Senior Oncologist and Radiotherapist
Prof. Raanan Berger heads the clinical research facility at the Institute of Oncology and Radiotherapy at Sheba Medical Center. He leads the genitourinary oncology program and runs a basic and translational research lab for the study of molecular mechanisms in prostate and breast tumorigenesis.
Prof. Berger initiated and founded a support service at the Institute of Oncology, in order to help provide patients and their families with multi-systemic treatment. The patients benefit from cutting-edge medical solutions, as well as the personalized assistance of trained psychologists and social workers.
He received his MD and PhD from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, and he is a member of ESMO and ASCO and co-author of more than 20 peer reviewed scientific articles.
Yaacov Lawrence, MD
Director, Center for Translational Radiation Oncology
Senior Physician in the Radiation Oncology Department
Dr. Lawrence, M.A.; M.B.B.S.; M.R.C.P. (MD equivalent), is a world-renowned specialist in translational radiation oncology and specializes in radiation treatments for lung, gastrointestinal and brain tumors. Dr. Lawrence has received numerous grants and funding, and he has published dozens of articles in medical literature. He attended the University College of London Hospital, UK, and the Royal College of Physicians in London. Dr. Lawrence completed his residency in Radiation Oncology at Sheba Medical Center, and did a fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University, in Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Talia Golan, MD
Head, Sheba Pancreatic Cancer Center – SPCC
Dr. Golan is a world renowned specialist and researcher in the field of pancreatic cancer. She specializes as a medical oncologist for gastrointestinal malignancies, and serves as a director of the Phase I clinical trials unit.
Holistic Approach to Cancer Treatment
At Sheba, we don’t see cancer as a final sentence or fate. We are committed to the belief that by combining the latest clinical research, innovative technologies and compassion towards each individual’s needs – our patients can fight even the most serious diagnosis. Our cancer specialists go to any length to custom-design effective therapy for each unique patient, with a constant focus on maximizing quality of life. We are deeply dedicated to continued research in order to improve current treatments and discover new, innovative medical solutions.