Mary-Claire King at Rambam
Photo credit to: Pioter Fliter, Amir Mark, Rambam HCC.

HAIFA, ISRAEL – World-renowned geneticist from the University of Washington, Prof. Mary-Claire King, was one of the featured presenters at this year’s annual Rambam Medical Center Summit in Israel.  King gave a presentation to leading scientists from Israel and around the world on cancer prevention and the connection between gene discovery and public health, warning of inter-family marriage and procreation and how it can often lead to both physical and mental ailments.

King spoke to the summit’s participants on a wide-range of topics within genetic mutation sickness. With inter-marriage so prevalent in Israel and the Middle East, King ran through a plethora of research she has conducted and phylogenetic trees justifying this research, showing those in attendance just how grave the impact of inter-family procreation can be.

“This region, because of its unique history, unique demographic, remarkable diversity of population, combined with superb medical care and excellent scientific infrastructure, makes this a uniquely fine place in the world to carry out the kind of work I do,” said Prof. King. “I’ve been carrying out this work with friends here for 20 years now and I hope to continue to do it for another 20.”

Rambam’s annual healthcare summit played host to leading medical researchers, healthcare policy makers and philanthropists at its campus in Haifa. A port city in northern Israel. This year’s theme, “From Vision to Reality” is showcasing the latest medical innovations, giving host to some of the leading personnel in medicine.

King is acclaimed for her discovery that a single gene, BRCA1, was responsible for many breast and ovarian cancers, and a large percentage of breast cancer may be in fact hereditary. The discovery of what became known as the “breast cancer gene” is said to have revolutionized the study of numerous other common diseases and provided a great amount of progress in early detection and prevention of breast cancer. As a result of King’s discovery, sequencing screening is now done on woman in their 30’s to detect the gene and eventually lead to cancer prevention.

“My view is that every young woman at the age of 30 or so should be screened for mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes,” Prof. King added, “In the European Jewish population roughly 1 of 40 women will have such a mutation…For these women that have such a mutation, they need to think about what actions to take, work with physicians to sort out a plan, and the best way to be able to take control of the situation, to be in power and to be in charge of one’s self is to be screened.”

“We are thrilled to have Professor King here at Rambam for our summit,” said Prof. Rafi Beyar, director general of Rambam Hospital. “She has pioneered breast cancer research and subsequently saved the lives of many as a result of her lifelong research. She is a hero and we are honored to host her.”

Rambam Health Care Campus is a 1,000-bed academic hospital serving the over 2 million residents of Northern Israel. Providing comprehensive medical services in all medical specialties, Rambam is the tertiary referral center for 12 district hospitals. Rambam Health Care Campus’s garage can be converted into a 2,000-bed full-service underground hospital, the largest in the world. In addition to the citizens of Northern Israel, Rambam serves the Israel Defense Forces Northern Command, UN Peacekeeping Forces, and the US 6th Fleet. Many of Rambam’s physicians participate in cutting-edge research projects to bring new therapies and treatments not only to their patients, but the greater community of the world. Rambam Heath Care Campus proudly believes that everyone deserves the highest quality of care and has always opened its doors to all those in need, regardless of their religious, race, and ethnicity. Visit

By Zen Chi

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