Israel’s medical innovations

Compiled and edited by Jon Sutz

Quick facts:

  • Although there are only 8,797,000 people living in Israel, representing barely 1/10th of 1% of the world’s 7.9 billion people, year after year Israelis produce a significant swath of all major medical advancements, and have done so for decades. This page presents some of the most recent of these advancements.
  • The Jewish Virtual Library produced a briefer on the history and dynamics of Israel’s unrivaled record in medical advancement, here.
  • A more detailed history of Israeli medical innovation is contained in the book, “Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World.” The description (from Amazon page): “Thou Shalt Innovate profiles wondrous Israeli innovations that are collectively changing the lives of billions of people around the world and explores why Israeli innovators of all faiths feel compelled to make the world better. This is the story of how Israelis are helping to feed the hungry, cure the sick, protect the defenseless, and make the desert bloom. Israel is playing a disproportionate role in helping solve some of the world s biggest challenges by tapping into the nation’s soul: the spirit of tikkun olam, the Jewish concept of repairing the world.”
  • “Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” – Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1 (22a)


CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Please see the page below, which documents Israel’s relentless efforts to rapidly develop world-class technologies to test for COVID-19, prevent its transmission, and medicines to help save the lives of those who’ve been infected:

Israel’s efforts to combat COVID-19


ISRAEL’S AMAZING MEDICAL INNOVATIONS

The most recent items are presented at the top.


Israeli lab says it has made safe a powerful — but toxic — cancer treatment; The research has been snapped up by pharmaceutical giant Teva, and according to the lead author could mean an ‘arsenal of new drugs’, by Nathan Jeffay, Times of Israel, March 25, 2022. Excerpt:

Israeli scientists say they have found a way to safely administer an immunotherapy drug thought capable of saving many lives, but hitherto considered too toxic for widespread use.

The team from the Weizmann Institute of Science says it has created a new version of the medicine, adding in a specially created antibody to make it safe.

In a new peer-reviewed study, researchers say a mouse experiment indicated that the new drug is both safe and effective.

Among scientists, boosting the effectiveness of the CD40 receptor — a protein molecule that stimulates the immune system — is seen as one viable way to fight many solid tumor cancers.

Synthetic antibodies exist that do exactly this and strengthen the CD40 receptor’s function. But when given in low concentrations they don’t work well, and in high concentrations, they tend to produce a toxic effect. This problem has kept them on the sidelines, failing multiple clinical trials.

Immunologist Prof. Rony Dahan of the Weizmann Institute of Science (courtesy of the Weizmann Institute of Science)


Israeli start-up RedC Biotech wins $500K at Aviram Awards in Dubai; The Aviram Awards – Tech for Humanity is a contest organized by Israel’s Aviram Family Foundation and Forbes for innovative Middle East start-ups, by Aaron Reich, Jerusalem Post, March 22, 2022. Excerpt:

Israeli start-up RedC Biotech was awarded $500,000 at the first ever Aviram Awards-Tech for Humanity, a contest organized by Israel’s Aviram Family Foundation and Forbes for innovative Middle East start-ups.

Founded by Dr. Ari Gargir, the company is developing an innovative universal red blood cell to revolutionize blood transfusions and the medical field as a whole.

The winner was among one of five finalists out of over 650 different early- to mid-stage start-ups from countries around the region. These finalists included three Israeli start-ups, one Jordanian start-up and one Moroccan start-up.

Israeli AI-powered beekeeping start-up Beewise won third prize, taking home $50,000. Second prize and $100,000 went to Jordanian sustainable sanitation start-up Akyas Sanitation.

RedC Biotech also took home the audience choice awards.

RedC Biotech CEO Ari Gargir


Israeli Biotech company says it can revolutionize drug development; Quicker, cheaper process brings new hope for people suffering from rare “orphan diseases,” by Debbie Mohnblatt, Jerusalem Post, March 15, 2022. Excerpt:

Developing a new drug and bringing it to market typically costs around $2.6 billion and takes about 12 years. Tissue Dynamics Ltd., an Israeli biotechnology company, says it can change all that.

Prof. Yaakov Nahmias of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, founder and CEO of Tissue Dynamics, told The Media Line that his company’s autonomous drug development platform can cut that cost by 40% to 80% and the time required by 30% to 50%.

“This is massive. It means that you won’t need $3 billion to develop a drug; you will need several hundreds of millions of dollars to do it,” he said.

The technology, when completed, will transform the pharmaceutical world in two ways. […]


Israeli biotech company paves a new way in healing injured spinal cords; The company successfully used human implants for replacing the injured spinal cord of a living pig, thereby simulating the anticipated surgical procedure in humans, by Rivka Hellendall, Jerusalem Post, January 12, 2022. Excerpt:

Spinal cord injuries are notoriously difficult to operate on, but an Israeli biotech company has opened a new road on the way to a cure using pigs.

The Israeli biotech company Matricelf reported today that it has successfully completed another usability trial with human implants (neural implants originating from human tissues) for replacing the injured spinal cord of a live pig. The company is developing autologous (bone marrow) implants for the regeneration of damaged tissues by using stem cells and external stem cell components from the patients themselves.

The trial in the live pig is done to mirror the anticipated surgical procedure in humans, both in terms of the flow of brain and spinal fluids and in terms of the bleeding that might occur close to the injury. During the trial, two neurosurgeons positioned the human implants developed by the company in the pig’s spinal cord.

After the neurosurgeons finished placing the implants, they followed up with the procedure of suturing the membranes surrounding the spinal cord as is done in humans. The trial was completed with major success.

“We are delighted to announce that the implants developed by the company, designed for treating traumatic injuries to the spinal cord have been successfully placed in the spinal cord of a living pig,” Matricelf VP of R&D Dr. Tamar Harel Adar said.


Israeli tech helps diabetics manage sugar levels, eat what they want; An Israeli company developed a system that uses artificial intelligence to predict people with diabetes’ blood sugar response to foods, enabling them to manage their sugar levels more efficiently, by Zev Stub, Jerusalem Post, November 14, 2021. Excerpt:

“Generic diets for diabetes patients don’t usually work,” says Amir Golan, vice president of business development and strategic partnerships for DayTwo. “If you tell someone they need to avoid carbohydrates, most people won’t be able to stick with that for the long-term. But even for something as unhealthy as ice cream, we can find ways to mitigate the damage so people can eat it once in a while. Using data to teach a person to combine foods based on their microbiome profile is more effective than generic diets, and has higher levels of success.”

The medical world’s understanding of diabetes treatment has changed significantly in the past six years, Golan said in an interview for World Diabetes Day, an annual event created in 1991 to help build awareness about the disease’s growing health threat.

DayTwo’s system analyzes a person’s gut microbiome and uses artificial intelligence to predict their blood sugar response to foods for a sustainable approach to managing type-2 diabetes and prediabetes.


Israeli Researchers Test AI-Based Radiation Methodology to Eradicate Aggressive Sarcoma Tumors, by Sharon Wrobel, The Algemeiner, November 8, 2021. Excerpt:

Israeli researchers at the country’s Rambam Hospital said that a new radiation program employing artificial intelligence shows the potential to almost completely eliminate certain aggressive cancerous tumors.

The group of doctors at Rambam’s radiation unit, located in the north of the country, created a high-intensity radiation program using a net method — dubbed GRID, for its net-like appearance – to attack malignant tumors that are inoperable or difficult to treat in a targeted manner.

The treatment is geared specifically for patients with sarcoma-type tumors, which are seen as especially aggressive and resistant to radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Some types of sarcoma tumors are also attached to vital organs, nerves, or blood vessels and therefore cannot be removed by surgery.

A study of the method on the first three Israeli patients was found to be effective in virtually eliminating the tumors, according to Dr. Salem Billan, Director of Radiation Oncology at Rambam, on Thursday.


New Israeli technology restores sense of touch to damaged nerves; Scientists develop a sensor that restores sense of touch to damaged nerves, holding out hope for people who have experienced amputation or injuries, by JNS, July 13, 2021. Excerpt:

A groundbreaking technology that can restore the sense of touch to nerves damaged as a result of amputation or injury has been developed by a team of scientists in Israel.

The technology, developed at Tel Aviv University and tested so far only in animals, involves a tiny sensor implanted in the nerve of the injured limb, and connected directly to a healthy nerve.

Every time the limb touches an object, the sensor—which does not require electricity, wires or batteries—is activated and conducts an electric current to the functioning nerve, recreating the sense of touch.

“Loss of sensation can result from a very wide range of injuries, from minor wounds—like someone chopping a salad and accidentally cutting himself with the knife—to very serious injuries,” said Ben Maoz of the university’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, Fleischman Faculty of Engineering, one of the leaders of the research.

Dr. Ben Maoz. Photo courtesy of Tel Aviv University.


Israel ‘prints’ world’s first 3D living malignant brain tumor; A tumor model was printed in a bioreactor designed in a lab using a hydrogel sampled and reproduced from the extracellular matrix taken from the patient, by Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, August 19, 2021. Excerpt:

A team of Israeli researchers from Tel Aviv University has printed the world’s first viable malignant brain tumor using a 3D printer, recreating the flowing blood vessels and surrounding brain tissue.

The glioblastoma tumor is based on samples from patients taken during surgery and is surrounded by a complex system of blood vessel-like tubes through which blood cells and drugs can flow, simulating a real tumor, explained Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, who led the research.

Glioblastoma is the deadliest type of brain cancer.

The 3D model could help accelerate the discovery and development of drugs or druggable targets, and facilitate a new level of personalized medicine for patients, enabling fast and more robust prediction of the most suitable treatments.


Israel ‘prints’ world’s first 3D living malignant brain tumor; A tumor model was printed in a bioreactor designed in a lab using a hydrogel sampled and reproduced from the extracellular matrix taken from the patient, by Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, December 17, 2019. Excerpt:

A team of Israeli researchers from Tel Aviv University has printed the world’s first viable malignant brain tumor using a 3D printer, recreating the flowing blood vessels and surrounding brain tissue.

The glioblastoma tumor is based on samples from patients taken during surgery and is surrounded by a complex system of blood vessel-like tubes through which blood cells and drugs can flow, simulating a real tumor, explained Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, who led the research.

Glioblastoma is the deadliest type of brain cancer.

The 3D model could help accelerate the discovery and development of drugs or druggable targets, and facilitate a new level of personalized medicine for patients, enabling fast and more robust prediction of the most suitable treatments.

(Left to right): Eilam Yeini, Prof. Satchi-Fainaro and Lena Neufeld. (credit: TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY)


Touted as a lifesaver for millions, Israeli nano-patch smells skin to detect TB; Some 3 million people worldwide miss tuberculosis diagnosis every year, often because tests unavailable; Haifa-made skin sticker will help, scientists say, by Nathan Jeffay, Times of Israel, July 5, 2021. Excerpt:

A new Israeli tuberculosis-detecting skin patch will reduce the huge number of people who die from the disease due to a lack of diagnosis, and could help the world eradicate it altogether, scientists say.

Tuberculosis is responsible for 1.4 million deaths a year, almost exclusively in poor countries. It is easily transmitted by sneezing, spitting and coughing, and each infected person passes it to more than 10 people on average.

Treatment is available, but cases are often missed due to poor provision of tests, which require lab processing.

The World Health Organization has considered tuberculosis a “global health emergency” since 1993, and highlights the power of testing, reporting that an estimated 60 million lives were saved through diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2019. But testing infrastructure is poor, and around 3 million cases are missed annually.

A research team from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has revealed, in a peer-reviewed journal article, that it has produced and tested a patch that gives a diagnosis an hour after it is attached to the skin.


A revolutionary blood clot that can heal chronic wounds; ActiGraft is an FDA-cleared regenerative wound solution which uses a patient’s own blood to spur healing of chronic wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21C, May 24, 2021. Excerpt:

The body’s mechanism for healing wounds is quite miraculous.

The wound bleeds. The blood coagulates and forms a clot. The clot sends a biologic signal triggering a cascade of actions that protect against infection and bring blood cells bearing materials to build new tissue in place of the damaged tissue.

Usually, this amazing process happens underneath the scab that forms over a wound and it’s all over pretty quickly.

But many people have chronic, nontraumatic injuries that never heal. These wounds form too gradually to set off the signal and not enough blood flows to the site.

ActiGraft, invented in Israel, is a unique wound-care product – a blood clot that healthcare providers produce in just 12 minutes from a vial of the patient’s whole blood mixed with a special reagent inside a coagulation mold.

Applied on the wound, this newly created blood clot jumpstarts the natural protecting and healing process that failed to begin before.

“ActiGraft tricks the body into thinking this chronic wound is a new wound that it needs to start healing,” says Alon Kushnir, CEO of RedDress, the company he founded to develop this one-of-a-kind device with his father, physician and medical device inventor Dr. Igal Kushnir.


Sackler lab produces automatic, non-invasive melanoma test; The test relies on a collection of special optical fibers that are transparent in infrared light. One end of the fibers is connected to a device that evaluates the ‘colors’ in the infrared, by Jerusalem Post, April 18, 2021. Excerpt:

Melanoma has always been diagnosed through an initial analysis followed by a biopsy. Now, thanks to a test developed by an Israeli research team, doctors will be able to diagnose patients quickly and in an automatic, non-invasive way, potentially saving their lives.

The test was developed by a team led by Prof. Abraham Katzir, from the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences at Tel Aviv University (TAU), and was published in the journal Medical Physics back in September.

“The idea that guided us in developing the technology was that in the visible range, there are various substances, having various colors, which are not characteristic of each substance,” explained Katzir. “On the other hand, in the infrared region, various substances have different ‘colors’ of a sort, depending on the chemical makeup of each substance.”

The way the test works is that it relies on a collection of special optical fibers that are transparent in infrared light. One end of the fibers is connected to a device that evaluates the ‘colors’ in the infrared, a press release explained.

Prof. Katzir using the technology on a patient. (photo credit: TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY)


Cure for deadly brain cancer may be on its way; Glioblastoma is an aggressive cancer that accounts for most malignant brain tumors. An Israeli researcher may have found its weak spot, by Brian Blum, Israel 21C, April 14, 2021. Excerpt:

Glioblastoma is a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer, accounting for half of all primary brain cancers. It has a 40 percent survival rate after a year and just 5% after five years, even after surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have discovered a potential treatment, tested on mice and 3D lab models so far.

If it works on humans, glioblastoma could become “chronic but manageable,” says Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, director of the university’s Cancer Biology Research Center and Cancer Research and Nanomedicine Laboratory. “It could even cure it completely.”

What Satchi-Fainaro and her team discovered is that glioblastoma results in part from a failure in the brain’s immune system, which leads to the amplification of cancerous cell division.

This immune system misstep is tied to the secretion of a protein called P-Selectin (SELP) which, when bound to the brain’s microglia immune cells, alters their function so that, rather than inhibiting the spread of cancer cells, they do the opposite.

PhD student Eilam Yeini and Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro at Tel Aviv University. (Photo courtesy of TAU)


Israeli organization breaks world record for kidney donations; Matnat Chaim has facilitated 1,000 donations since it was founded in 2009, by Yehuda Shlezinger, JNS News, April 6, 2021. Excerpt:

Israel celebrated a special milestone Sunday, as the Matnat Chaim nonprofit organization, which encourages and facilitates living kidney donations, is about to break a world record by marking its 1,000th transplant.

Since Matnat Chaim, Hebrew for “Gift of Life,” was founded in 2019, the number of kidney donations in Israel has quadrupled.

The organization’s data reveals that about two-thirds of the donors are men, a third are women and 40 percent of all donors are teachers or educators. The organization’s work is estimated to have saved the state some 4 billion shekels ($1.2 billion) by decreasing the need for treatments, hospitalization and medication for patients with kidney disease.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in the number of donations. Some weeks, the organization said, it oversaw five to nine kidney transplants a week. An especially large number of donations occurred when Matnat Chaim’s founder, Rabbi Yeshayahu Heber, passed away after having contracted coronavirus.


Why Israel is becoming a hub for Parkinson’s research; A high rate of genetic Parkinson’s makes Israel a perfect lab for finding ways to prevent, stop and even cure this fast-growing neurological disorder, by Abigail Klein Leichman, JNS News, April 5, 2021. Excerpt:

More than 40 scientists study molecular, genetic, physiological and genetic elements of Parkinson’s disease at Aufzien.

“We provide an organizational and funding umbrella so researchers and clinicians can work together and find solutions faster,” says co-director Professor Karen B. Avraham, a specialist in genetic deafness research and vice dean of Tel Aviv University’s school of medicine.

Giladi says Aufzien “is quite a unique center combining the most advanced basic research at the university with clinical research at Tel Aviv Medical Center and community outreach through the Israel Parkinson Association to provide knowledge, awareness and country-based research.”

The center’s new website invites first-degree relatives of genetic Parkinson’s patients to register, helping researchers develop a scoring system for risk and expected onset of symptoms.

“In the next 10 years, we hope to have tens of thousands registered and follow them prospectively,” says Giladi.

“For now, we are suggesting how to modify their lifestyle to lower risk. Exercise cuts risk 30 percent. A good night’s sleep, improved mood and a Mediterranean diet all have an impact,” he says. “In the future, we hope to offer a vaccine or other intervention to protect them from further progression. Some genes decrease the risk of Parkinson’s disease, and if we can identify them, we can develop drugs using the same protein.”


Israelis create cancer drug without animal tests, by using human-simulating chip; Hebrew University professor says tech that mimics human body can now be used to develop other new treatments, saving time, animals’ lives and money, by Nathan Jeffay, Times Of Israel, March 8, 2021. Excerpt:

Israeli scientists have developed a cancer drug without testing it on animals by using a chip that simulates the human body.

Hebrew University researchers created a chip containing human tissue with microscopic sensors to precisely monitor the response of the human body — kidney, liver and heart — to specific drug treatments.

The idea of organ-on-chip technology is 30 years old, but the Israeli team is believed to be the first to successfully create a new treatment using a chip’s capabilities in order to completely eliminate animal testing.

They are so confident in their research, which paired two existing drugs in order to solve a problem of excess liver fat experienced by some cancer patients, that they are submitting the combination for a patent, for clinical trials, and for approval by the US Food and Drug Administration — all while skipping the normal animal testing.

Prof. Yaakov Nahmias (right) and researcher Aaron Cohen, holding the “human simulator” chip (courtesy of Hebrew University)


Israeli scientists say they’ve found ‘Achilles’ heel’ of cancer cells, Breakthrough study unveils vulnerability of malignant cells with high degree of chromosomal instability and could lead to new treatments, by Maya Margit, Jerusalem Post, January 28, 2021. Excerpt:

A team of researchers led by scientists at Tel Aviv University say they may have stumbled upon the “Achilles’ heel” of cancer cells, which could in the future lead to the development of an entirely new array of cancer drugs and treatments.

Dr. Uri Ben-David of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, who led the research, told The Media Line that scientists have known for well over a century that malignant cells have an abnormal number of chromosomes. Humans have 46 chromosomes (two sets of 23) but in cancer this number changes because, during cell division, chromosome segregation takes place that can lead to a phenomenon called aneuploidy.

Aneuploidy, the presence of an abnormal number of chromosomes in a cell, not only causes common genetic disorders but is also a hallmark of cancer cells. Not all cancers exhibit aneuploidy, but roughly 90% of solid tumors and 75% of blood cancers do, to a certain degree.

According to Ben-David, the findings open up an entirely new avenue for medical research.

“For decades, we’ve been trying to understand why [aneuploidy] happens in cancer and how it contributes to tumor formation and progression,” Ben-David said. More importantly, he said, scientists have been trying to see “if we can take advantage of this quite unique difference between cancer cells and normal cells in order to selectively kill the cancer cells.”


Blind man regains sight thanks to Israeli startup’s synthetic cornea; Immediately after bandages were removed, 78-year-old patients was able to recognize family members and read text. Professor Irit Bahar: We are proud to be at the forefront of this project, which will impact millions of people’s lives, by Israel Hayom, January 12, 2021. Excerpt:

A 78-year-old man who has been blind in both eyes for 10 years has regained his sight after receiving the first implant of an artificial cornea developed by Israeli startup CorNeat, the company announced Monday.

The CorNeat KPro implant is designed to replace deformed, scarred or opacified corneas, and it integrates with the eye wall with no reliance on donor tissue.

Professor Irit Bahar, head of the Ophthalmology Department at Rabin Medical Center (formerly Beilinson Hospital) in Petah Tikva, performed the procedure.

Once the bandages were removed, the patient was able to recognize family members and read text.


The SniffPhone

The SniffPhone is a medical diagnostic device that “sniffs out” diseases. Developed primarily by Israeli researchers at the Technion, the SniffPhone is curently undergoing clinical trials. Here is SniffPhone’s promotional video (5:30):


Israeli bio-tech firm #Matricellf uses #3D printing technology to treat spinal chord injuries, i24News, January 12, 2021.


Israel’s OrCam reportedly seeks New York IPO at $3 billion valuation; Calcalist says maker of devices to assist the blind hopes to raise $300 million in share sale in 2021; firm is also seeking to privately raise some $200 million ahead of IPO, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, December 14, 2020. Excerpt:

Israel’s OrCam Technologies, a developer of devices to assist the blind and visually impaired, is seeking to hold an initial public offering of shares in New York in 2021, to raise $300 million at a valuation of $3 billion, financial website Calcalist reported on Monday without saying where it got the information.

Before the share offering, the firm plans to raise funds from private investors for a total of $150-$200 million, at a valuation of $1.5 billion to $2 billion, the report said.

There was no immediate comment by a spokesman for the firm about the Calcalist report.

OrCam was founded in 2010 by Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram, the same entrepreneurs who set up Mobileye, a maker of self-driving and assisted driving technologies that was sold to Intel in 2017 for $15.3 billion after it listed shares on the Nasdaq in 2014 at a valuation of $5.3 billion.

OrCam’s MyEye device is a finger-sized device that attaches to any pair of eyeglasses. Using artificial intelligence software, the device is able to read printed and digital text out loud, but discreetly, from any surface in real time. The device also recognizes people’s faces, and identifies consumer products, colors and currency.

Soccer legend Lionel Messi has agreed to be the face of the company, and lead a push to improve accessibility through OrCam’s devices (Courtesy OrCam)


Israeli scientists: New cancer treatment like using ‘tiny scissors’ to hit cells, by Natalie Musumeci, New York Post, November 22, 2020. Excerpt:

Israeli scientists say they’ve created a way to treat cancer in mice that is so precise, it’s like using “tiny scissors” to target the cells, according to a report.

“This is the first study in the world to prove that the CRISPR genome editing system, which works by cutting DNA, can effectively be used to treat cancer in an animal,” Professor Dan Peer, a cancer expert from Tel Aviv University, told the Times of Israel.

Peer’s research was published last week in the Science Advances journal.

“There are no side effects, and we believe that a cancer cell treated in this way will never become active again,” Peer told the news outlet, adding, “This technology can extend the life expectancy of cancer patients and we hope, one day, cure the disease.”


Kidney tumors destroyed by outpatient cryoablation system; Study validates ProSense from IceCure, showing 100% effectiveness against recurrent kidney growths, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21C, October 8, 2020. Excerpt:

A non-surgical liquid nitrogen (LN2) cryoablation (freezing) technology to destroy benign and malignant tumors demonstrated 100 percent success in a trial with seven kidney cancer patients whose surgically removed tumors had reoccurred.

The outcome of the study, reported in Journal of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, is another feather in the cap of Israeli company IceCure Medical, maker of the ProSense cryoablation system.

The company’s primary focus is breast, kidney and lung cancer. The minimally invasive technology is an alternative to surgical tumor removal and is easily performed in a relatively short outpatient procedure, guided by computerized tomography.

Additionally, IceCure’s solution can help institutions free up operating rooms, while potentially preventing or reducing the risk of infectious pathogens from medical procedures. These are especially critical points during the Covid-19 pandemic.

ProSense is available worldwide after receiving FDA and CE approvals. “Over the past weeks we have completed five successful remote ProSense installations, at clinics in South Africa, Germany, Singapore, Spain, and Thailand,” the company reports.


At-Home Ultrasounds for Pregnant Women Now A Reality: PulseNmore Launches World’s First Self-Administered Handheld Tele-Ultrasound Device, PR Newswire, August 10, 2020. Excerpt:

OMER, Israel — Israeli startup PulseNmore today announced the launch of its flagship handheld tele-ultrasound device that enables pregnant women to perform at-home ultrasound scans, and receive feedback from a physician or sonographer, limiting the need for hospital and doctor visits during COVID-19 and beyond.

Clalit Health Services, Israel’s largest HMO and the one of the largest public HMOs in the world with 4.6 million insured members, is the first healthcare provider to purchase the device, signing a multi-year agreement to provide tens of thousands of its pregnant members with PulseNmore’s product.

 


Israeli startup’s synthetic cornea could restore sight to millions around the world; First implants of CorNeat KPro’s synthetic cornea, which bio-integrates with the human eye, to be run on human patients at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel Hayom, July 19, 2020. Excerpt:

The Israeli startup CorNeat Vision has received approval to conduct clinical trials of a synthetic cornea that bio-integrates with the human eye.

The Health Ministry-approved trial of the CorNeat KPro will be run at Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva on 10 patients suffering from corneal blindness who are either not candidates for or have experienced one or more failed cornea transplants, the company announced last week.

The CorNeat KPro implant is designed to replace deformed, scarred or opacified corneas and restore the vision of corneal blind patients immediately following implantation. The lens of the device is designed to integrate with ocular tissue using a patented synthetic non-degradable nanofabric skirt, which is placed under the conjunctiva.


Researchers in Israel have significantly improved cognitive functions in people over 65 using hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), by Aging.US, June 26, 2020. Excerpt:

More than half of community-dwelling individuals sixty years and older express concern about declining cognitive abilities. The current study’s aim was to evaluate hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) effect on cognitive functions in healthy aging adults.

A randomized controlled clinical trial randomized 63 healthy adults (>64) either to HBOT(n=33) or control arms(n=30) for three months. Primary endpoint included the general cognitive function measured post intervention/control. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) was evaluated by perfusion magnetic resonance imaging.

There was a significant group-by-time interaction in global cognitive function post-HBOT compared to control (p=0.0017). The most striking improvements were in attention (net effect size=0.745) and information processing speed (net effect size=0.788).

Voxel-based analysis showed significant cerebral blood flow increases in the HBOT group compared to the control group in the right superior medial frontal gyrus (BA10), right and left supplementary motor area (BA6), right middle frontal gyrus (BA6), left middle frontal gyrus (BA9), left superior frontal gyrus (BA8) and the right superior parietal gyrus (BA7).

In this study, HBOT was shown to induce cognitive enhancements in healthy aging adults via mechanisms involving regional changes in CBF. The main improvements include attention, information processing speed and executive functions, which normally decline with aging.


Israeli AI company partners with medical service to provide better cancer screening for NHS patients; Israel-based Ibex Medical Analytics uses artificial intelligence to identify discrepancies between diagnoses and test results for pathologists, by James Spiro, CTECH, June 30, 2020. Excerpt:

Israeli-based medtech company Ibex Medical Analytics Ltd. has teamed up with digital pathology provider LDPath Inc. to provide AI applications for cancer detection in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

The timing comes as the world recovers from Covid-19 and the global surge in hospital admittances remains high. The United Kingdom, a county with one of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks, has seen pressure mount on its healthcare infrastructure. It is expected that Ibex will assist LDPath in the UK’s rising demand for pathologists at a time where the supply is decreasing by the year.

Joseph Mossel, Co-Founder & CEO Ibex Medical Analytics. Credit: Ibex Medical Analytics

Ibex CEO and Co-Founder Joseph Mossel spoke exclusively with CTech about how it can help the healthcare industry in times of Covid:

“There’s a lot of crossover between Israel and the UK. One is the shortage of pathologists — 97% of labs in the UK are understaffed. With Ibex, LDPath will be able to provide services to 24 different NHS trusts with something that is more accurate and faster.”


Doctors Remove Cancerous Lung from a Patient, Clean It, and Put It Back inside the Body, by Loukia Papadopoulos, Interesting Engineering, March 14, 2020. Excerpt:

The operation took place at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel.

For the first time, doctors have removed a patient’s cancerous lung, cleared it of the tumor, and placed it back into the body. The procedure took place at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel.

Initially, doctors had planned to cut the patient’s lung and wait for a lung transplant, a procedure that could prove very dangerous. Considering that the man was in his 40s and had a cancerous tumor that blocked the main airway in his left lung, a quick intervention was of the essence.

“If we were to have simply cut out the lung alone, awaiting a transplant, the patient’s condition would continue to be life-threatening,” Dr. Yuri Faischowitz, director of the Chiropractic Unit for Beilinson, told Ynet News.

So, the doctors decided to try a new process of removing the lung and cleaning it. The operation was a tricky one as the patient had to breathe through his right lung while the surgeons cut off the left lung. He had to continue breathing in this manner until the lung was cleansed from the tumor and re-inflated to check that it was still functioning.

“While we were inflating it, we saw that the upper lobe of the lung remained healthy,” explained Faischowitz, “so we were able to transplant it back.”


Israeli Research Center to Announce It Developed Coronavirus Vaccine, Sources Say, Ido Efrati and Chaim Levinson, Haaretz, March 12, 2020. Excerpt:

Scientists at the Biological Research Institute are making significant breakthroughs in understanding the virus, the sources say, but a long process of pre-clinical and clinical trials is to follow.

Scientists at Israel’s Institute for Biological Research are expected to announce in the coming days that they have completed development of a vaccine for the new coronavirus COVID-19.

According to medical sources, the scientists have recently had a significant breakthrough in understanding the biological mechanism and qualities of the virus, including better diagnostic capability, production of antibodies for those who already have the virus and development of a vaccine.

The development process requires a series of tests and experiments that may last many months before the vaccination is deemed effective or safe to use.

Asked about the development, the Defense Ministry said: “There has been no breakthrough in the efforts of the biological institute to find a vaccine for the coronavirus or to develop testing kits. The institute’s work is conducted according to an orderly work plan and it will take time. If and when there will be something to report, it will be done in an orderly fashion. The biological institute is a world-renowned research and development agency, which relies on experienced researchers and scientists with great knowledge and quality infrastructures. There are now more than 50 experienced scientists working at the institute on researching and developing a medical remedy for the virus.”


Israeli-made oral vaccine for coronavirus on track, but testing will take months, by Nathan Jeffay, Times of Israel, March 11, 2020. Excerpt:

State-funded Migal Galilee institute has been working for 4 years on a vaccine that could be customized for various viruses, so it had a head start when COVID-19 emerged.

An effective Israeli-developed vaccine for coronavirus is on track to be ready for testing within “a few weeks,” though it won’t be available for months because of the lengthy and sometimes bureaucratic testing and approval process, a member of the development team said Tuesday.

Chen Katz told The Times of Israel that the new oral vaccine for adults and children could “turn this disease into a very mild cold.” He said that for many people who are inoculated and then infected by COVID-19, “potentially it will not affect them at all.”

The rapid potential progress by the state-funded Migal Galilee Research Institute stems from the fact that the institute has been working for four years toward a vaccine that could be customized for various viruses, and has now adapted that work to focus on the coronavirus, he said.


FDA clears Israeli robotic standing wheelchair for US sales,
by Luke Tress, Times of Israel, March 2, 2020. Excerpt:

UPnRIDE’s mobility system allows quadriplegics to move around indoor and outdoor environments, while standing upright.

The US Food and Drug Administration cleared a standing wheelchair produced by an Israeli robotics company for sale in the US.

The mobility device from UPnRIDE Robotics is a wheelchair that brings quadriplegics from a sitting to an upright position, allowing them to be fully mobile in both positions, indoors and outdoors.

The standing wheelchair received FDA clearance for use in the US in September. The company now can market and sell the device in the US. It has one vendor, and is looking for others.

Dr. Amit Goffer’s UPnRIDE Robotics Ltd. has developed a system that enables paraplegics to stand up straight, walk and climb stairs. (Courtesy)

“The approval of our UPnRIDE standing wheelchair is another very important milestone in our mission to offer health benefits and improved quality of life to millions of people suffering from walking impairments,” Dr. Amit Goffer, founder and president of the company, said in a Thursday statement.

“I have had a longstanding vision that all people confined to a wheelchair should have access to enhanced mobility and enjoy the many health benefits associated with the ability to perform everyday tasks in a standing position. With the introduction of UPnRIDE, this dream is becoming a reality,” said Goffer, who is a quadriplegic himself.


Israeli scientists say weeks away from coronavirus vaccine, i24NEWS, February 28, 2020. Excerpt:

MIGAL is working to achieve safety approvals that will enable preclinical testing.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

A group of Israeli researchers at the Galilee Research Institute (MIGAL) are close to developing a coronavirus vaccine that could be ready in three weeks and available within 90 days, according to Israeli Minister of Science and Technology Ofir Akunis.

The research team has already created a vaccine against avian Coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV), and are adapting it to create a human vaccine against Coronavirus (COVID-19), according to The Jewish Press.

The MIGAL research revealed that the genetics of the poultry coronavirus are highly similar to the coronavirus found in humans, and that it uses the same infection mechanism.


Israeli firm unveils kit to diagnose coronavirus, as 2nd team works on a vaccine, Times of Israel, February 28, 2020, Excerpt:

Announcement of BATM kit comes as officials struggle to balance need for rapid testing and worries over false positives; science minister hails institute’s progress toward vaccine.

An Israeli firm said Thursday it has developed a kit to test for the coronavirus, sending its stocks soaring as the world hunts for an effective way to confirm who is carrying the fast-spreading contagion.

Hod Hasharon based BATM said production on the quick diagnostic kit was underway at a facility in Rome owned by Adaltis, which manufactures various medical testing devices.

Health officials have urged the development of rapid testing devices to screen who may have the virus, as questions have arisen about current diagnostic tools’ ability to flag carriers. Health officials have also worried about overtesting and deluging health systems with false positives that will lead to public panic. […]

BATM said in a statement that its test’s ability to successfully screen those carrying COVID-19 had been verified by several labs and hospitals, and that customers in several countries had expressed interest. It did not provide details.

It said the test met criteria set out by the US-based Centers of Disease Control and that it was working with European research institutions to develop “a price point suitable for large scale production.”


Israeli surgeons develop new method to cure lung cancer, Xinhua, February 28, 2020. Excerpt:

Israeli doctors have removed a lung from a cancer patient’s body, cleaned it from the tumor and successfully returned it to the patient’s body, Beilinson Hospital in central Israel reported Thursday.

The surgeons said that this is a breakthrough, as the method of “cleansing” tumors from organs, which is still at a beginning stage, may change cancer treatment globally.

With the new method, there is no need to wait for an organ transplant, which also allows the patient to return to normal life without any chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

The cancer patient who underwent the surgery has suffered from the tumor that blocked the main airway in his left lung, leading to the lung’s collapse.


‘BDS THIS’: Israel Makes ‘Exciting Breakthrough’ In Race For Coronavirus Vaccine, by  Ryan Saavedra, DailyWire, February 27, 2020. Excerpt:

Israeli scientists are reportedly only a few weeks away from having developed the first vaccine to combat the coronavirus, which originated in China, and could have the vaccine available 90 days after that.

“Congratulations to MIGAL [The Galilee Research Institute] on this exciting breakthrough,” Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis said, according to The Jerusalem Post. “I am confident there will be further rapid progress, enabling us to provide a needed response to the grave global COVID-19 threat,” Akunis said, referring to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

A team of scientists at MIGAL had been working for years on a vaccine against an infectious bronchitis virus (IBV).

“Our basic concept was to develop the technology and not specifically a vaccine for this kind or that kind of virus,” said Dr. Chen Katz, MIGAL’s biotechnology group leader. “The scientific framework for the vaccine is based on a new protein expression vector, which forms and secretes a chimeric soluble protein that delivers the viral antigen into mucosal tissues by self-activated endocytosis, causing the body to form antibodies against the virus.”


Israeli-made x-ray capsule identifies warning signs of colorectal cancer, by Eytan Halon, Jerusalem Post, February 20, 2020

“When we ask patients and physicians, we get a clear answer that the device has the potential to change the natural history of colon cancer screening,” said Check-Cap CEO, Alex Ovadia.

A swallowable capsule to x-ray and identify warning signs of colorectal cancer is edging closer to the American market, promising an Israeli-led revolution in colorectal cancer prevention.

The small C-Scan capsule, developed by Isfiya-based Check-Cap, is simply swallowed by a patient to generate three-dimensional maps of the inner lining of the colon, and detect any pre-cancerous polyps or other abnormalities.

Far from the invasive and unpleasant nature of a colonoscopy, the x-ray capsule requires no preparation and autonomously communicates with a wearable tracking unit. After swallowing, the patient can continue with their daily routine and allow the technology to do its work.

The company is currently working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) toward a pivotal trial in late 2020, and the innovative technology could be commercialized in the United States by 2022. The solution was granted CE approval in early 2018, and has already been approved for sale in Israel.

“The number of people willing to do a colonoscopy is less than half – it is a problem looking for a solution,” Dr. Yoav Kimchy, founder and CTO of Check-Cap, told The Jerusalem Post. “The idea was to find a way to look for polyps and not to look for cancer. Polyps are like a warning sign and you don’t want to wait for the cancer.”

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States among both men and women, and over 53,000 deaths are estimated from the disease in the US alone this year. If polyps are identified early, however, it can be one of the most preventable cancers of all. Typically-benign polyps can be present in the colon for a decade before developing into invasive cancer.

The C-Scan capsule, developed by Check-Cap (photo credit: CHECK-CAP)


Israeli technology detects early-stage cancer ‘navigating’ inside lungsAfter undergoing its first clinical trial in 2015, the technology is now fully approved and commercialized, by Rossella Tercatin, Jeruselem Post, February 19, 2020. Excerpt:

Israeli start-up Body Vision has created technology that allows doctors to detect early-stage lung cancer through a minimally invasive procedure navigating the affected organ.

Lung cancer global survival rate is just around 10%, making this form of cancer one of the deadliest in the world. In the US, where advanced medical facilities are available, the survival rate stands at about 18%. In order to increase the chance of survival, a big difference can be made by how early cancer is uncovered.

Body Vision technology involves minimally invasive bronchoscope navigation of the affected organ instead of the current approach of “watchful waiting” that a lesion in the lung will disappear. The watchful waiting approach is often used today to avoid the risk of an invasive alternative: surgical or CT-guided biopsy procedures for diagnostics.

LUNGVISION Platform (™), Body Vision technology targeting lung cancer. (photo credit: BODY VISION)

The Ramat Hasharon-based company’s CEO, Dorian Averbuch, has a background in mechanical engineering, but he has been working in the field of pulmonology for the past 20 years, as he explained to The Jerusalem Post.

Through his work in various companies in the field, he realized that although a lot of innovation was employed in imaging and tools, too often physicians were left with invasive and risky procedures as the only options even for diagnosing the tumors.

“When I started in 2001, probably the latest innovation available was the bronchoscopy procedure itself that had been introduced decades before, even though the imaging equipment had improved dramatically,” he noted.

Years later and with much more experience, Averbuch still felt that something was not working out in the interaction between humans and technology in treating lung cancer.


New technology could revolutionize market of 500 million diabetes patients, by i24NEWS, January 14, 2020. Excerpt:

Oramed Pharmaceuticals developed insulin capsule that can be consumed orally.

A new technology developed by tech company Oramed Pharmaceuticals may revolutionize treatment methods for millions who suffer from diabetes.

Instead of injecting insulin on a daily basis, Oramed developed an insulin capsule for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes that can be consumed orally.

Until now there were two main obstacles to taking insulin in the form of a pill: Firstly, a degradation that ensues from oral digestion, and secondly, the size of the insulin which is too big to get inside the bloodstream without direct injection.

“Oramed’s technology, that was developed by my mother and Professor [Avram] Hershko the Nobel Prize winner, allows us to overcome those obstacles,” Israeli CEO of Oramed Pharmaceuticals Nadav Kidron tells i24NEWS in an interview conducted in New York City.


Ariel initiates Innoging Medical, by Thierry Heles, Global University Venturing, November 1, 2018. Excerpt:

Ariel University spinout Innoging has made its public debut and will commercialise ultrasound technology that lets radiologists manipulate scans without the patient being present.

Innoging Medical, an Israel-based ultrasound technology developer, has been launched by Ariel University, Israel21c reported on Tuesday.

The company has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from unnamed angel investors and physicians.

Innoging is working on technology that combines a probe, which resembles the transducer used in the ultrasound scan, with a pad, which simulates the patient’s body. Radiologists move the probe around the pad and can see a three-dimensional model of their patient on a screen.


[Bioprinting] CollPlant Announces Positive Clinical Data Published for Tennis Elbow Treatment, by Edward Kim, Equities.com, December 10, 2018. Excerpt:

Soft tissue injuries refer to damage of muscles, ligaments and tendons, and can range from modest strains to tendinitis, bursitis, severe bruises and sprains. According to an August 2018 report from Allied Market Research, the global soft tissue repair market was worth $16.6 billion in 2017 and is projected to grow to $25.6 billion by 2015, driven by an increase in sports-related injuries and a rise in obesity. While traditional treatment methods for soft tissue injuries involve the standard “RICE” recommendations of rest, ice, compression and elevation, we’ve been following a growing number of companies that are developing next generation solutions to treat these injuries in a more effective manner.

CollPlant is an Israel-based developer of tissue repair products for orthobiologic applications and advanced wound care markets. The company’s products and pipeline are based on recombinant human collagen (rhCollagen) produced with its proprietary plant based genetic engineering technology. CollPlant’s lead product lines include rhCollagen BioInk, used for 3D bioprinting of tissues and organ material, and VergenixSTR (soft tissue repair), an injectable gel formulation of rhCollagen and plasma that forms a soft tissue repair matrix for treating tendon injuries. CollPlant also markets VergenixFG, which is added to bandages to help wound healing. The company’s BioInk is sold in the US, while the Vergenix line is marketed in Europe.


The Future of Medicine: new discoveries by Israeli scientists, by Embassy of Israel, December 12, 2018.

​Israel renowned as Silicon Wadi, the Silicon Valley of the Middle East has recently gained great recognition for its contributions to the world of biotechnology.

Israel is renowned for its achievements in the field of security, IT, smart mobility and start-ups, which earned the country the nickname of Silicon Wadi, the Silicon Valley of the Middle East. Lately, the country has also gained great recognition for its contributions to the world of biotechnology.

Israeli biotech initially started in 1901 with the creation of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries – a very small structure at the time –, which became today the world’s biggest pharmaceutical company.

There is a consensus that the main source of innovation originates in the medical centers and the seven universities of the country. These scientific hubs opened the way for medical innovation and led to the creation of over 1400 Israeli companies in the life science sector today.


How the Fight Against Malaria Infected the Future Map of Israel, by Nir Hasson, Haaretz, March 8, 2018. Excerpt:

Nearly 100 years ago, Dr. Israel Kligler single-handedly eradicated the disease in the Holy Land – and gave birth to the Partition Plan.

Dr. Zalman Greenberg, a Jerusalem microbiologist who is now retired from the Ministry of Health, has spent years researching the history of medicine in Israel. Twenty years ago he started compiling an extensive bibliography of microbiology studies done in the country. “One name kept popping up more than others,” he related this week. “Everywhere I looked I saw the name Kligler. I saw that he was a key researcher in the areas of microbes, worms, viruses, parasites and malaria. I thought he must be an American researcher but then I realized that he had lived and died in Israel.”

Since his discovery, Greenberg delved into the life and work of Dr. Israel Jacob Kligler. Seven years ago he was joined by Anton Alexander, a retired Jewish lawyer and history buff living in London. Through a number of studies and articles they cracked the character of a man who they claim is the founder of microbiology and public health in Israel – and most importantly, the greatest foe of malaria. He single-handedly defeated the disease not through medicine but through education and persistence.

During their research, Kligler and Alexander drew the map of malaria distribution 100 years ago. They showed that the eucalyptus trees brought here did not contribute much to warding off the disease and demonstrated the impact malaria had on shaping the borders of Israel.

1920 map contained in the British Mandate Dept. of Health review of Malaria in Palestine (1918-1941), and showing the worst malaria areas (the dark blue areas) in Palestine. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi


This Israeli doctor’s revolutionary discovery could end the need for kidney dialysis; Will kidney dialysis become a thing of the past? Israeli researcher discovers evidence that kidneys can be rejuvenated, by Ken Stephens, Arutz Sheva, January 26, 2020. Excerpt:

A groundbreaking study has shown that it is possible to rejuvenate damaged kidneys and improve their function, a procedure that could reverse chronic kidney disease, offsetting the need for dialysis. This is the first breakthrough in decades to combat this disease, often precipitated by hypertension and diabetes, and which affects a whopping 10% of the population worldwide.

The study was conducted by Professor Benjamin Dekel, head of Pediatric Nephrology and the Pediatric Stem Cell Research Institute in the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s hospital at Sheba Medical Center, and published this week in the prestigious Cell Reports medical journal.

In past studies, researchers discovered that the adult kidney constantly renews itself over time through the activity of colonies of cells that replace lost and degenerated cells in the kidney. Prof. Dekel and his team have now developed an innovative technology that involves the extraction of such healthy kidney cells from diseased kidneys. These cells are then expanded into large numbers within a laboratory environment. By generation of three-dimensional cultures called “kidney spheres,” the cells show improved function to generate new kidney tissue and replace lost cells. The new cells are then reintroduced into the kidney where they rebuild it, positively influencing neighboring cells and improving its function (see diagram below).


Israel’s alpha radiation treatment shows 100% rate of tumor shrinkage; Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Around the globe, cancer incidence has been steadily increasing over the past half-century, by Hillel Fuld, Jerusalem Post, December 29, 2019. Excerpt:

Today, there are many available cancer treatment options, with varying levels of effectiveness and safety. However, when the tumor is inoperable or there are multiple tumors, good treatment options are limited, and the medical community has long sought a cancer therapy that is highly potent (can effectively treat aggressive tumors) while sparing healthy tissue.

Alpha Tau’s Alpha DaRT (Diffusing Alpha-emitters Radiation Treatment) is the first technology to provide a highly localized and effective treatment of solid tumors using alpha radiation. Alpha particles are known for their high capacity to destroy cancer cells, inducing irreparable double-strand breaks in cellular DNA. However, alpha particles have an extremely short path length in tissue, which means they cannot reach across the entire volume of a tumor and therefore, until recently, could not be used as treatment for solid tumors.

THE ALPHA DaRT technology, enables the spread of alpha particles across entire tumors by utilizing the radioactive decay of an isotope called radium-224. The treatment is delivered by inserting into the tumor Alpha DaRT seeds which contain radium-224 atoms embedded into their surface. In the process of decay, radium-224 releases its alpha-emitting daughter atoms. These atoms diffuse to a range of several millimeters, delivering a high dose of alpha radiation along the way.

Ben-Gurion University develops miracle molecule for fighting Lupus; NIBN, BGU and NIH researchers make breakthrough in the ‘Fight to Cure Lupus: A Proof of Concept in an Animal Model’, reported in the prestige journal Science, by Zachary Keyser, Jerusalem Post, December 29, 2019. Excerpt:

Researchers from the National Institute of Biotechnology in the Negev (NIBN), Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in collaboration with the National Institute for Biotechnology and the United States National Institute of Health (NIH) have made a breakthrough in dissecting the pathology of the Lupus disease – creating pathways to pave the direction towards an eventual cure to the autoimmune disease.

Prof. Varda Shoshan-Barmatz of the Department of Life Sciences and the founding director of the NIBN in collaboration with Dr. Jay Chung of the NIH have successfully shown that the mitochondrial protein VDAC1 is “critical” for the release of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). mtDNA is linked to the composition of Lupus in patients, in addition, the newly found discovery has shown results in animal models for lupus to successfully relieve symptoms of the disease.

“Our breakthrough is identifying a new pathway for the exit of mitochondrial DNA that we can either trigger under controlled conditions or inhibit using our novel molecule that we specifically developed to prevent the formation of this pathway,” said Shoshan-Barmatz in a statement. “Since the results thus far with lupus have been so promising, we believe that the molecule will be beneficial with regards to other diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis – as our preliminary results already support.”


Israel’s IceCure gets FDA nod to treat tumors in liver, kidney; The company’s treatment uses special needles to inject liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy tumors without the need for surgery, by Reuters (via Israel Hayom), December 23, 2019. Excerpt:

Israel’s IceCure Medical said on Sunday it received US regulatory approval to expand the use of its cryoablation technology to treat benign and cancerous tumors in livers and kidneys, sending its share price up 30%.

IceCure’s treatment uses special needles to inject liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy tumors without the need for surgery.

It has focused on breast cancer tumors, but now the US Food and Drug Administration approved new uses, such as against tumors in the kidney, liver, and in the fields of neurology and ear, nose, and throat, the company said.

The FDA also approved its new MultySense system that has three probes, it said. Its earlier system had one needle.

“This machine … will allow us to treat bigger tumors or a few different tumors at the same time of treatment,” said IceCure Chief Executive Eyal Shamir, adding the new system is slated to be launched at the end of 2021.


Doctors perform historic surgery with aid of virtual reality; VR system developed by former Israeli fighter pilots helps neurosurgeons rehearse difficult procedures and show the patient what will happen, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, December 17, 2019. Excerpt:

It wasn’t going to be easy to remove a brain tumor threatening the life of 2-year-old Ari Ellman of San Francisco. Experts at several US hospitals weren’t even sure it was possible.

But Ari’s tumor was removed, piece by piece, in a groundbreaking endonasal surgery lasting nearly 18 hours.

Following three more surgeries and six weeks in the pediatric ICU, Ari is “a gorgeous healthy boy who’s loving and living life to the fullest,” according to his mom.

It was a historic surgery. Neurosurgeons at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital of Stanford University had never done this procedure on a child so young.

They felt confident enough to try the risky surgery because they were able to rehearse it to perfection using the Surgical Theater system developed by former Israel Air Force officers Moty Avisar and Alon Geri.

Surgical Theater began in 2010 with the idea of giving neurosurgeons the ability to prepare for specific surgeries the way fighter pilots prepare for specific missions.

Today, the virtual reality visualization platform is in 15 leading US hospitals, such as New York University, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Houston Methodist, George Washington University, Mount Sinai, Stanford and Children’s National Hospital.

Surgical Theater’s VR platform lets doctors and patients see inside the brain and prepare for surgery.


Israel develops ‘breakthrough’ method to identify thyroid cancer, by Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, December 17, 2019. Excerpt:

Doctors at Hadassah University Medical Center have developed what they are calling a “breakthrough” new method to identify thyroid cancer with 94% accuracy.

The study – led by Dr. Haggi Mazeh, head of the department of General Surgery at Hadassah-University Medical Center on Mt. Scopus, and Dr. Iddo Ben-Dov, senior physician in the Department of Nephrology – was published in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

Mazeh explained to The Jerusalem Post that the thyroid gland is responsible for metabolism, temperature regulation and more within the human body. However, the thyroid often develops small nodules, or solid or fluid-filled lumps that have the potential to be cancerous.

“In some cases, a biopsy should be performed to determine if the lump is benign or malignant,” the doctor said.


 

 

 


New Israeli technology replaces surgeon’s knife with no-cut alternative, by Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, Jerusalem Post, February 15, 2018. Excerpt:

The technology developed at the Technion softens the collagen fibers by means of a controlled release system of collagenase, an enzyme that breaks down the collagen.

People who have to undergo surgery but fear the scalpel will have a less-frightening alternative, the enzymatic “blade.” Researchers at the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering at Haifa’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed a device that replaces the surgeon’s knife with natural biological materials.

In an article just published in ACS Nano of the American Chemical Society, the researchers present the application of this technology in a surgical procedure in the mouth. This application significantly reduces the pain associated with orthodontic surgery and significantly accelerates tissue restoration.

The research was conducted by Prof. Avi Schroeder, a nanotechnology expert who is head of the targeted drugs laboratory and personalized medicine technologies at the faculty. The “blade” is based on the intelligent use of enzymes – biological molecules by which the body restores itself – as well as nanoparticles and technology for controlled release of drugs.


Israeli device banishes finger-pricking for sugar levels in diabetes patients, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, December 5, 2017.

Cnoga says it has created the first commercially available noninvasive glucose meter, using a camera and algorithms to read changes in fingers’ color.

Diabetes patients know that one of the greatest challenges in managing the ailment is tracking their blood sugar, or glucose, levels. To do that the only option available today is through the use of standard glucose meters — devices that require multiple finger pricks each day, a painful process.

For years, researchers have been trying to find a noninvasive, quicker and easier way to monitor blood glucose. Even the most advanced devices in use today, like needle sensors, which can track glucose continuously, need to be inserted under the skin every one to two weeks.

Now, Caesarea-based startup Cnoga Medical Ltd. says it has come up with a way to track blood glucose levels without pricking or pain. Its glucose meter, already approved for use in numerous countries worldwide, uses a camera to provide a diagnosis of blood glucose levels by observing the changing colors of the user’s finger.

Cnoga’s TensorTip device, also known as the CoG, allows an accurate and non-invasive monitoring of glucose levels in the blood


Israeli-developed ALS treatment reversing motor decline breakthrough, by Max Schindler, Jerusalem Post, October 17, 2017. Excerpt:

Israeli firm leads new way to fight ALS, doesn’t slow down the progress of the disease, reverses the damage it causes.

You may recall friends and family dumping buckets of ice on their head to raise funds for treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a debilitating neuro-degenerative disease.

Current treatments are able to slow ALS’ progression but fail to maintain or restore motor movement. Now, multiple clinical trials conducted by an Israeli firm, Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics, show a first-ever reversal in expected decline for patients, likely to transform how we treat ALS.

“We showed a very strong improvement when we compare pre-treatment to post-treatment in the patients that were treated,” said Chaim Lebovits, CEO of Brainstorm, referring to the company’s advanced stem cell therapy treatment. “It means that it’s not even a slowdown of the disease, or a halt, but it’s a reversal of it. It’s unheard of in ALS, if we replicate this in a third trial.”

BrainStorm announced on Monday that its first patients had enrolled in a phase three clinical trial for its treatment of ALS at two American hospitals. The research will occur at Massachusetts General Hospital, UC Irvine Medical Center in California and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota — and it will include some 200 patients, half of whom will be given a placebo.


Israeli ice device destroys breast tumors, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, July 2, 2012. Excerpt:

For the past year, a novel Israeli medical device has been changing the way American doctors remove fibro-adenoma tumors – benign breast lumps. Now an internationally renowned Japanese surgeon is testing IceSense3, made in Israel by IceCure Medical, to destroy small malignant tumors as well.

“This is the future,” CEO Hezi Himelfarb tells ISRAEL21c.

During an ultrasound-guided procedure, the IceSense3 probe penetrates the tumor and destroys it by engulfing it with ice. Needing only local anesthetic, the cryoablation process takes five or 10 minutes in a doctor’s office, clinic or breast center, and the patient can get up and leave afterward. No recovery period or post-care is necessary.


A First in Israel, Cardiac Catheterization Conducted Using Sound Waves, by Tazpit News Agency, December 8, 2019. Excerpt:

For the first time in Israel, the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem successfully performed a cardiac catheterization using sound waves to treat a complex case of severe arterial congestion.

The new catheterization was performed on Sunday with the use of special equipment developed by SHOCKWAVE on a 66-year-old patient with a calcium build-up, and after a previously performed catheterization failed to treat the problem.

The treatment entails the deployment of a tiny balloon filled with fluid and tiny balls at the point where there is a build-up of calcium within the artery. After the balloon is in place, sound waves are triggered to create a rapid movement of the balls which create cracks in the calcium inside the artery.

The cracks allow for the elasticity of the artery and the insertion of a stent in the same location, without damaging the artery.


Israeli Study Finds Molecule Triggers Self-Destruction Of Pancreatic Cancer Cells, by NoCamels, December 3, 2019. Excerpt:

Israeli scientists say a new study has shown that a small molecule called PJ34 triggered the self-destruction of human pancreatic cancer cells in mice.

According to the research, published in the peer-reviewed open-access biomedical journal Oncotarget, the administration of the molecule reduced the number of cancer cells in developed tumors by up to 90 percent in 30 days.

The study was led by Professor Malka Cohen-Armon and her team at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, in collaboration with Dr. Talia Golan and her team at the Cancer Research Center at Sheba Medical Center, and conducted with transplantations of human pancreatic cancer cells into immunocompromised mice, or xenografts.

“In research published in 2017, we discovered a mechanism that causes the self-destruction of human cancer cells during their duplication (mitosis) without affecting normal cells,” explained Professor Cohen-Armon in a statement by the university this week. “We have now harnessed this information to efficiently eradicate human pancreatic cancer cells in xenografts. The current results were obtained using a small molecule that evokes this self-destruction mechanism in a variety of human cancer cells.

Professor Malka Cohen-Armon, left, of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, and Dr. Talia Golan, right, of the Sheba Medical Center.


Discovery at Hebrew University could revolutionize chemotherapy, by Arutz Sheva, November 27, 2019. Excerpt:

It is a feeling that many who receive a cancer diagnosis can identify with: heartbreak and fear, followed by hopes that chemotherapy will save the day. Unfortunately, for many patients, chemo’s painful side effects cause them to stop treatment prematurely.

Now, a research team headed by Professor Alexander Binshtok, head of the Pain Plasticity Research Group at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Medicine and Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences, has developed a method that delivers chemotherapy drugs directly to malignant cells and bypasses healthy ones. This discovery could allow doctors to reduce chemo doses for patients, thereby reducing the unpleasant side-effects associated with the treatment, and improve treatment compliance and overall prognoses.

“Most anti-cancer treatments are not sufficiently specific, meaning they attack healthy cells together with the malignant ones they’re trying to get rid of,” explained Binshtok. “This leads to the many serious side-affects associated with chemo therapy. Eliminating cancerous cells while leaving healthy ones alone is an important step towards reduce patients’ suffering.”

Professor Alexander Binshtok


Israeli team uses silicon chip to deliver Alzheimer’s-busting protein to brain, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, November 26, 2019. Excerpt:

Researchers at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology and Bar-Ilan University have developed technology they hope will help inhibit the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was published recently as a cover story in the journal Small. It was led by Prof. Ester Segal and PhD student Michal Rosenberg from the Technion Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering with their partners, Prof. Orit Shefi and PhD student Neta Zilony-Hanin from the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Engineering. […]

The chips allow the insertion of the curative protein directly into the brain and its release at the targeted tissue.

Prof. Ester Segal, of the Technion Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering


World’s first ‘artificial meniscus’ implant performed in Israel, by Tamar Beeri, Jerusalem Post, November 18, 2019. Excerpt:

Israel was the first country in the world to perform a new “artificial meniscus” transplant, which was developed in Israel by Active Implants LLC. The transplant can easily replace previous treatments for people with damaged or torn menisci to help in pain management and physical therapy.

The NUsurface Implant passed clinical trials in Israel performed by two leading surgeons, Dr. Gabriel Agar from Shamir Medical Center and Dr. Ron Arbel from Ramat-Aviv Medical Center, who were involved in the development of the new technology.

“It is an exciting time to finally be able to make the NUsurface Implant available to Israeli patients,” said Agar. “Continued pain after repairing meniscus tears is a very common orthopedic problem, and until now, we have not had effective treatment options.”

The implant, made of medical-grade plastic and inserted into the knee joint through a small incision, mimics the function of the natural meniscus. The implant requires no fixation to bone or soft tissues, allowing patients to go home soon after the operation.

A team of surgeons performs an innovative meniscus transplant. (photo credit: ACTIVE IMPLANTS LLC)


New route to blocking children’s bone cancer, by ISRAEL21c, November 7, 2019. Excerpt:

Ewing sarcoma is a bone cancer that mainly affects teenagers. Once it spreads to distant organs, it is hard to treat.

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have discovered molecular interactions underlying Ewing sarcomas and proposed a potential treatment, which showed promise in a study in mice published recently in Cell Reports.

The study focused on glucocorticoids, receptors for steroid hormones. These receptors convey hormonal messages related to stress, wakefulness and other important functions in virtually all human cells.

But sometimes glucocorticoid receptors stimulate malignant growth by moving to the cell nucleus, where they interact and bind with molecules that turn genes on or off.

In the biological regulation laboratory of Prof. Yosef Yarden, postdoctoral fellow Swati Srivastava and colleagues revealed previously unknown interactions leading to the creation of an oncogene — a cancer-causing gene.

Prof. Yosef Yarden and Dr. Swati Srivastava propose a new treatment for Ewing sarcoma. Photo courtesy of Weizmann Institute


Israeli blood cancer treatment could also kill solid tumors – new study, by Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, October 7, 2019. Excerpt:

Israel’s revolutionary CAR-T cancer treatment, which has proven successful in treating the blood cancer leukemia, might now also be effective in killing solid tumor cells coated in specific antibodies, according to research published this month in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The study was led by Dr. Yaron Carmi of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine.

Carmi told The Jerusalem Post that chemotherapy is currently the most common treatment for fast-growing, solid tumors. However, chemotherapy attacks healthy cells and tumors at the same time, causing serious side effects, such as hair loss, nausea, mood changes, pain, anemia and nerve and muscle problems, as well as heart and kidney issues.

“Immunotherapy, on the other hand, is a type of biological therapy that uses the body’s own immune system to seek out and destroy cancer cells,” he explained.

A Tel Aviv University release explained that CAR T-cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy that uses altered T cells to fight cancer. T cells are a type of lymphocyte, or white blood cell, that play a central role in the immune response (The “T” is for thymus, where the cells mature). T cells are collected from the patient and modified in the lab to produce structures called CARs on their surface. These Chimeric Antigen Receptors allow the T cells to attach to a specific antigen on the tumor cells and kill them.

Tel Aviv University researchers (from left): Dr. Yaron Carmi, Diana Rasuluniriana, Dr. Peleg Ride (photo credit: TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY)


[Israeli research]: Ultrasound targeting the brain is poised to revolutionize the treatment for Parkinson’s disease, by Andrew Zaleski, CNBC, May 9 2018. Excerpt:

[A] noninvasive treatment option that uses focused ultrasound to mitigate the effects of essential tremor is slowly making its way into hospitals worldwide. University-affiliated medical systems, such as the Mayo Clinic, are currently using it, and more than 1,000 patients with essential tremor around the world have been treated. It’s also being tested further to see how it could be used to treat Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and to help deliver targeted drug therapy for people suffering from brain tumors. Israel-based Insightec, backed by $400 million of investor capital to date, is the company behind it.

The treatment involves two steps: Patients are first fitted with a helmet that transmits ultrasound waves. They’re then placed inside a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine, which allows doctors to monitor and adjust the procedure as it’s taking place.

Insightec’s focused ultrasound therapy, coupled with MRI, targets tissues deep within the brain and either thermally ablates it or disrupts cell membranes similar to how ultrasound is used to break up kidney stones.


FIVE LATEST ISRAELI SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGHS, with Hananya Natalfi, September 2019


Israeli-made innovative cancer treatment gets FDA stamp of approval, by Rachel Wolf, Jerusalem Post, September 5, 2019. Excerpt:

The world’s first drug to prevent proliferation of cancerous cells, established by Israeli scientist Dr. Sharon Shacham, just received FDA approval, kicking off Leukemia Awareness Month.

XPOVIO was developed by Karyopharm Therapeutics, a Newton, Massachusetts company established by Israel’s Dr. Sharon Shacham.

“We believe that our activity at Karyopharm constitutes an important milestone in the war on cancer,” she said.

The FDA first approved the drug for sale in July after 10 years of development. Karyopharm wrote in a press release that within six days of the FDA’s approval, cancer patients in the USA began receiving XPOVIO.

During a pivotal trial that led to the drug’s approval, approximately 40% of patients saw their tumors shrink. Karyopharm also reported that patient life expectancy increased by three to five times thanks to the treatment.


Save A Child’s Heart – Israel, saves a Uzbekistan boy with a donated heart procedure

Learn about Save A Child’s Heart here.


Teva launches generic version of EpiPen for young children, by Reuters, August 21, 2019. Excerpt:

The drugmaker has been struggling with falling prices of generics and faces lawsuits that allege it helped fuel the U.S. opioid addiction epidemic.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd on Tuesday made its generic version of Mylan’s EpiPen for young children available in most retail pharmacies at $300 for a 2-pack.

U.S.-listed shares of the Israel-based company rose 4.9% to $7 in afternoon trading.

Teva, the world’s largest generic drugmaker, is already selling the product for adults, after getting U.S. approval for its copy of EpiPen last August, following several years of delay.

Raymond James analyst Elliot Wilbur estimates the current U.S. epinephrine market is worth about $700 million.

“Teva can capture about $290 million-$300 million in annual sales, or roughly 45% market share,” Wilbur said.


New Antibacterial Fillings from Israel May Fight Repeated Tooth Decay, by TheTower, July 9, 2019. Excerpt:

Novel dental fillings made of resin-based composites enhanced by antibacterial nano-assemblies, developed at Tel Aviv University, can hinder bacterial growth on dental restorations, the main cause of recurrent cavities that can lead to root-canal treatment and tooth extractions.

“Antibiotic resistance is now one of the most pressing healthcare problems facing society, and the development of novel antimicrobial therapeutics and biomedical materials represents an urgent unmet need,” said lead researcher Dr. Lihi Adler-Abramovich.

“When bacteria accumulate on the tooth surface, they ultimately dissolve the hard tissues of the teeth. Recurrent cavities — also known as secondary tooth decay — at the margins of dental restorations results from acid production by cavity-causing bacteria that reside in the restoration-tooth interface.”

She explained that the enhanced material is superior both to composite resins, which look good but don’t have any antibacterial effect, and antibacterial amalgam fillings composed of metal alloys that have problems of toxicity and lack of adherence.

The new material “is not only aesthetically pleasing and mechanically rigid but is also intrinsically antibacterial due to the incorporation of antibacterial nano-assemblies,” said TAU doctoral student Lee Schnaider.


Technion team develops medical glue to replace stitches in serious injuries, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, June 11, 2019. Excerpt:

Applied with a glue gun, the melted polymer works both externally and internally, and is nontoxic, flexible and biodegradable, researchers say.

Researchers at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology have developed a glue gun to put the human body back together when it has been seriously injured.

The pins and stitches currently used to treat serious injuries come with drawbacks: They can be painful, they leave scars, they require high skill from the doctor, and they sometimes have to be removed after the tissues heal. Suture on the intestine, lungs or blood vessels often leak and therefore require a sealant.

The medical glue that the researchers have developed is a “two in one,” said Prof. Boaz Mizrahi, head of the Biomaterials Laboratory of the Technion. It replaces both stitches and the sealant, and is good for both external and internal injuries, he said.

Technion researchers have developed a medical glue gun to help heal human tissue that has been seriously injured (Courtesy)


WATCH: FDA Approves Israeli Device that Lets Paralyzed People Walk Again, by JNS (via United With Israel), June 7, 2019. Excerpt:

Israel-based ReWalk Robotics Ltd. announced that its ReStore product will have a starting price in the United States of $28,900, though leasing options will be available.


New Israeli technology can now freeze cancer cells, by i24NEWS, June 3, 2019. Excerpt:

Most patients can be treated within one hour and in some cases even within just ten to fifteen minutes.

An Israeli company based in the northern coastal city of Ceasarea has developed a revolutionary minimal technique to freeze cancerous tumors that only requires a local anesthetic.

It is already treating thousands of women with breast cancer worldwide within hospitals and doctors’ offices, including in Japan, Ausralia, Germany and Spain. A clinical trial is currently being performed in the United States.

Vice President of Icecure Medical Elizabeth Sadka explains that the method is meant “to replace the surgery for a specific population that we can offer to treat in a minimal invasive operation.”


Israeli scientists unveil world’s first 3D-printed heart with human tissue, by Delphine Matthieussent, Times of Israel, April 15, 2019. Excerpt:

Researchers at Tel Aviv University say their ‘major medical breakthrough’ will advance possibilities for transplants.

Scientists in Israel unveiled a 3D print of a heart with human tissue and vessels on Monday, calling it a first and a “major medical breakthrough” that advances possibilities for transplants.

While it remains a far way off, scientists hope one day to be able to produce hearts suitable for transplant into humans as well as patches to regenerate defective hearts.

The heart produced by researchers at Tel Aviv University is about the size of a rabbit’s.

It marked “the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” said Tal Dvir, who led the project.

“People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels,” he said.


The Israeli dogs that can detect cancer, by Alon Einhorn, Jerusalem Post, February 12, 2019. Excerpt:

Dogs were trained to smell cancer through different samples before, but “Dog Prognose” does it for the first time through saliva.

Somewhere in Southern Israel, a first-of-its-kind venture trains dogs to locate early signs of cancer.

The name of the laboratory is “Dog Prognose.” It allows a person to send a saliva sample (in a small plastic container), and receive an immediate answer as to whether they have cancer. The cost of the test is NIS 399, just a little over $100.

Uri Bakeman, professional dog trainer and owner of the laboratory, told Army Radio that “the most important issue is that this test detects the disease at its earliest stage, since the dogs can identify the characteristic signs of the smell of the disease. If the dog sits down after sniffing the sample, it means it is suspicious.”

In a recent study conducted by Prof. Pesach Schwartzman of Ben-Gurion University, it was determined that various types of cancer share an odor that dogs are capable of identifying.

A famous case involved Daisy, a dog who managed to correctly identify 500 cases of cancer, and smell a total of 6,500 samples. Daisy, who worked for “Medical Detection Dogs”- a foundation in the UK – passed away last year.

Daisy was a pioneer in sniffing out cancer cells in breath and urine samples, and even detected her owner’s breast cancer in its early stages.


Israel: For Your Eyes Only: the Next Great Ophthalmology Innovation, by i24 News, Mar 8, 2018:

Wouldn’t it be nice if surgery wasn’t required for ophthalmology cases? This group in Jerusalem may have the next great medical innovation to improve eyesight. Our Ariel Levin-Waldman has the story.


Israeli Company Develops Goggles Allowing Surgeons to See Right Through You, by Adi Pick/CTech, The Algemeiner, February 5, 2019. Excerpt:

Ever chose “X-ray vision” as your choice of a hypothetical superpower?

Israel-based Augmedics Ltd. has developed a set of goggles giving surgeons X-ray-like visualization capabilities.

Augmedics is creating an augmented reality headset for surgical procedures. Called xvision, the headset projects X-ray-like 3D visualization of the patient in real time, allowing surgeons to “see” through the patient’s skin, muscle tissue, and bone.

The imaging is projected onto the surgeons’ retina using the transparent display headset, allowing surgeons to simultaneously look at their patient and see the necessary navigation data without averting their eyes to a remote screen.

The headset is intended for use in surgeries where a reference to a rigid anatomical structure, like the spine or the pelvis, can be identified.

Clinical trials of the headset in minimally invasive spine surgeries have been underway in Israel since August, Augmedics’ CEO Nissan Elimelech said in a Tuesday interview with Calcalist. So far the device has been used in six surgeries.


A cure for cancer? Israeli scientists may have found one, by Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, January 28, 2019. Excerpt:

“Our results are consistent and repeatable.”

A small team of Israeli scientists think they might have found the first complete cure for cancer.

“We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor, of a new treatment being developed by his company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi), which was founded in 2000 in the ITEK incubator. AEBi developed the SoAP platform, which provides functional leads to very difficult targets.

“Our cancer cure will be effective from day one, will last a duration of a few weeks and will have no or minimal side-effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market,” Aridor said. “Our solution will be both generic and personal.”


Israeli Scientist Wins EU Innovation Award For Breath Test Device That Detects Diseases, by NoCamels, November 26, 2018. Excerpt:

Israeli Professor Hossam Haick of the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology was awarded the European Commission Innovation Prize last week for his invention of the SNIFFPHONE, a device that uses nanotechnology sensors to analyze particles on the breath and is able to pinpoint to exact diseases, like certain kinds of cancer, pulmonary and even the early stages of neurodegenerative diseases.

Haick was awarded the prize last week in Lisbon, Portugal at the annual European Forum of Electronic Components and Systems (EFECS), which focused on humanity’s “digital future.” The Technion professor was chosen by a prize committee as the most innovative scientist realizing an idea in the field of electronic systems.

The SNIFFPHONE includes the NaNose, developed in 2014 by Haick and Professor Nir Peled of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine. It is a microchip incorporated into a the breathalyzer-like device, capable of diagnosing various diseases. The device uses the presence of specific volatile organic compounds, which are unique fingerprints for various forms of diseases.


Mom’s melanoma leads to Israeli device for early detection, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, December 24, 2018. Excerpt:

Ofir Aharon invented a new technology and put it into a patented scanner that shows early deterioration of skin lesions before they become pigmented.

Ofir Aharon was in the last year of his PhD studies in electro-optics when his mother was diagnosed with melanoma.

Learning all he could about this deadly form of skin cancer, Aharon came to the conclusion that more than half of malignant melanoma lesions (usually, moles) fail to be diagnosed in the first two years after they appear – at a stage when treatment could be lifesaving.

“Physicians say 50 percent of skin cancer starts out ‘innocent’ and then becomes cancer, but pathologists familiar with tissue structure say 95% of lesions that look innocent already started as cancer. I wondered why there was no tool that could show the early deterioration of lesions much before they became pigmented,” Aharon tells ISRAEL21c.

Ofir Aharon, founder of an early detection system for melanoma.


New drug may lead to cure for aggressive brain cancer, Israeli researchers say, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, December 19, 2018. Excerpt:

10% of animals treated with SIXAC gained ‘extended life’ and the drug ‘actually cured them of the disease,’ Sheba Medical Center reports.

Neuroscientists at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer have discovered a new drug they say has “the potential to cure terminally ill patients” suffering from glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive brain cancer.

Arizona Senator John McCain recently died of the cancer, and according to medical industry sources, there over 240,000 new cases of GBM diagnosed worldwide every year.

Israeli neuroscientists Dr. Efrat Shavit-Stein and Professor Yoav Chapman, who have been working on the treatment at the Joseph Sagol Neuroscience Center, Sheba Medical Center, published their discovery in the December 17 issue of Frontiers in Neurology magazine.

Glioblastoma is believed to be the most common and deadly primary brain tumor. Despite extensive research in the field, the results of current treatments are limited and there is no cure for the disease. It is therefore necessary to seek innovative approaches, the Sheba Medical Center said in a statement.


Israeli scientists say they’ve created first fully personalized tissue implant, Times of Israel, December 4, 2018. Excerpt:

Tel Aviv University researchers convert fat cells into stem cells, then grow them into any required tissue — including for the heart and brain.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University say they have created the first fully personalized tissue implants, based entirely on a patient’s own cells.

According to Prof. Tal Dvir of TAU’s Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, researchers have managed to create tissue for various organs that are 100 percent compatible with transplant patients, as they are grown from cells extracted from the patient.

The process has been successful with animal subjects, and the scientists hope human trials could follow soon.

Fatty tissue cells were extracted from subjects, then converted into stem cells that can be manipulated to generate any tissue type needed by the body.

Current processes to create such implants involve biologic material not derived from the patient, leading to potential rejection by the immune system and associated dangers. But the TAU researchers say they’ve succeeded in creating tissue with only the original cells, minimizing such risks.

“We were able to create a personalized hydrogel from the materials of the biopsy, to differentiate fatty tissue cells into different cell types and to engineer cardiac, spinal cord, cortical and other tissue implants to treat different diseases,” Dvir said.

Prof. Tal Dvir of Tel Aviv University


3D bioprinted lungs to be available for global transplants; Israel’s Collplant inks licensing and commercialization deal with major American biotech firm to make human organs, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21C, November 4, 2018. Excerpt;

CollPlant, an Israeli regenerative medicine company focused on 3D bioprinting of tissues and organs, signed a license, development and commercialization agreement with United Therapeutics Corporation of Maryland for 3D bioprinted lung transplants.

The agreement combines CollPlant’s proprietary recombinant human collagen (rhCollagen) derived from engineered tobacco plants, and its BioInk technology, with the regenerative medicine and organ manufacturing capabilities of United Therapeutics subsidiary Lung Biotechnology PBC.

One of many companies founded by Hebrew University nanotechnology pioneer Prof. Oded Shoseyov, CollPlant will manufacture and supply BioInk for a few years to meet development process demand, and will provide technical support to United Therapeutics as it establishes a US facility for the manufacture of CollPlant’s rhCollagen and BioInk.

The BioInk product line also includes a soft-tissue repair matrix for treating tendinopathy and a wound repair matrix to promote a rapid optimal healing of acute and chronic wounds.

In addition to the initial focus on 3D bioprinted lungs for transplant surgeries anywhere in the world, the agreement grants United Therapeutics an option to expand the field of its license to add up to three additional organs.

“We are excited to work with CollPlant’s extraordinary Israeli technology to transform the tobacco plant that is so associated with lung disease into a collagen-expressing plant that will be essential to the production of an unlimited number of transplantable lungs,” said United Therapeutics Chairwoman and CEO Martine Rothblatt.


Israeli technology revolutionizing brain cancer treatment, by Doron Kooperstein, YNet, January 1, 2018. Excerpt:

Optune, a skullcap developed in Israel that fights cancer using electric frequencies, has extended the lives of patients with glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, by months or even years.

There is no more accurate description of “thinking outside the box” than when talking about Optune, the Israeli innovation that fights glioblastoma (GBM), a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer.

Until now, there has been no effective cure for this cancer. In fact, the last time a treatment was approved for glioblastoma was 15 years ago, when a chemotherapy drug was approved, which did extend the lives of patients, but only for a very short time.

Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive primary brain cancer. Every year in Israel, some 200 people are diagnosed with the disease, and 200 patients die from it. The average survival time after surgery combined with radiotherapy and chemotherapy (the standard treatment to date) is only 70 weeks.

Michael Paransky wearing his Optune skullcap (Photo: Eldad Refaeli)


Israelis discover promising treatment for aggressive brain tumors, by ISRAEL21c, November 19, 2018. Excerpt:

Hebrew University researchers share results of a new glioblastoma treatment with the potential to improve and extend patients’ lives.

A new treatment for aggressive brain tumors (glioblastoma) shows great promise, according to a report by Israeli scientists that was published recently in the journal Nucleic Acids Research.

Glioblastoma is a serious and incurable brain cancer. Patients receiving this diagnosis typically have 11 to 20 months to live. One of the main difficulties in treating this cancer is that its cells quickly build up a resistance to chemotherapy.

A team headed by Prof. Rotem Karni and PhD student Maxim Mogilevsky at Hebrew University’s Institute for Medical Research-Israel Canada (IMRIC) designed a molecule that inhibits glioblastoma tumor growth by regulating the proteins it produces.

Karni explained that the MKNK2 gene produces two different protein products through a process called “RNA alternative splicing.” These proteins have two opposing functions: MNK2a inhibits cancer growth, whereas MNK2b supports cancer growth.

Hebrew University PhD student Maxim Mogilevsky and Prof. Rotem Karni in the Institute for Medical Research-Israel Canada lab. Photo by Polina Denichenko courtesy of Hebrew University


Israeli scientists develop implanted organs that won’t be rejected, by ISRAEL21c, November 14, 2018. Excerpt:

Breakthrough development uses a patient’s own stomach cells, cutting the risk of an immune response to implanted organs.

Israeli researchers report that they have invented the first fully personalized tissue implant, engineered from a patient’s own materials and cells. The new technology makes it possible to engineer any kind of tissue implant, for the spinal cord, to the heart, or brain, from one small fatty tissue biopsy.

“We were able to create a personalized hydrogel from the materials of the biopsy, to differentiate fatty tissue cells into different cell types and to engineer cardiac, spinal cord, cortical and other tissue implants to treat different diseases,” said lead researcher Prof. Tal Dvir of Tel Aviv University’s Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and Sagol Center for Regenerative Biotechnology.

“Since both the cells and the material used derive from the patient, the implant does not provoke an immune response, ensuring proper regeneration of the defected organ,” Dvir explained.

The research was conducted by Dvir’s postdoctoral researcher, Reuven Edri, and doctoral students Nadav Noor and Idan Gal, in collaboration with Prof. Dan Peer and Prof. Irit Gat Viks of TAU’s Department of Cell Research and Immunology and Prof. Lior Heller of Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center in Israel. It was recently published in the journal Advanced Materials.


Breath Test Device May Help Diagnose Early-Stage Parkinson’s Disease,
By NoCamels, September 18, 2018. Excerpt:

A team of scientists at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has developed a device they say can detect early-stage Parkinson’s disease using a breath test.

In a July study published in the scientific journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience, the scientists detailed their findings following testing of the device on the exhaled breath of 29 Parkinson’s disease patients after initial diagnosis by an experienced neurologist, and 19 control subjects of similar age.

Their results, according to the research, showed accuracy levels of 81 percent.

Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra, has four main symptoms and can be difficult to accurately diagnose in its early stages. Symptoms develop gradually and include shaking or tremors, a slowness of movement called bradykinesia, stiffness in the extremities, and postural instability. Diagnoses are often first made by family physicians after which neurologists are usually consulted, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.


Tumors to meet a frozen end at private Haifa hospital, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, August 15, 2018. Excerpt:

IceCure’s tech to be used starting within a few months, initially on benign breast tumors and malignant kidney tumors.

A private Israeli hospital in Haifa will start using IceCure Medical Ltd.’s tumor freezing technology within the next few months to fight benign breast tumors and cancerous kidney tumors without the need for surgery, the Israeli medical devices firm said.

The firm, whose shares are traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, said Wednesday that commercial treatment of its product will start for the first time in Israel at the Elisha Hospital, using the startup’s ProSense system.

IceCure in May reported (Hebrew) results of a breast cancer trial that showed a low rate of cancer recurrence of cancer after treatment using its IceSense3 system, an earlier version of ProSense.

The treatment lasts for 20 to 40 minutes in a clinic, without surgery.

The trial, conducted in 18 clinics in the US, consisted of 146 patients with low-risk breast cancer, with only one patient showing a recurrence of the cancer. Seventy-six percent of patients returned to full daily activities 48 hours after the treatment and 95% of patients and doctors reported satisfaction with the cosmetic results, the company said in a statement.

Illustration of how IceCure Medical’s technology freezes tumors using a probe and extremely cold temperatures (Courtesy)


Nanodrops: Israel invented eye drops that repair eye vision


Israeli researchers say they have found a way to curb growth of cancer cells,
by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, May 15, 2018. Excerpt:

Scientists at Ben-Gurion University develop a molecule that inhibits development of a protein that is active in many tumors

A group of researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has developed a new molecule that they say inhibits the growth of cancer cells and also reprograms them to be noncancerous.

The new treatment is based on inhibiting the production of a protein, the voltage-dependent anion-selective channel 1 (VDAC1), highly increased levels of which are found in many solid and non-solid tumors.

The research was led by Prof. Varda Shoshan-Barmatz of the Department of Life Sciences and the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev Ltd. (NIBN), both of which are part of BGU.

The VDAC1 protein regulates the mitochondria, which control cell metabolism. Cancer cells are known to have a very active metabolism.

“Cancer cells have hundred times more VDAC1 than normal cells,” said Shoshan-Barmatz in a phone interview. “So we said, let’s prevent, down-regulate its formation.”

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Prof. Varda Shoshan-Barmatz


Israeli Drug Achieves Dramatic Results with Lung and Colon Cancer, Virtual Jerusalem, May 22, 2017. Excerpt:

In recent months, the department of molecular biology in the Integrated Cancer Prevention Center headed by Prof. Nadir Arber and Dr. Shiran Shapira, head of the molecular biology laboratory, conducted trials on lung and colon cancer cells, achieving dramatic results and eliminating some 70% of the carcinogenic cells.

The scientists believe the drug will be found as effective for all cancer types.

The anti-cancer drug “Gammora” was developed by Israeli Zion Biomedic, a sister company of Zion Pharmaceuticals, which develops a drug that eliminates the Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), in collaboration with Prof. Avraham Loyter from the Institute of Life Science in the Hebrew University who developed the drug, and Prof. Zev Sthoeger, director of the AIDS Institute at the Kaplan Medical Center.

The drug’s action was described in a statement released by Zion Biomedic: “Gammora works with unique peptides (short protein segments) derived from the HIV integrase protein. This protein is expressed by the virus and is required for the viral infection process. The peptides cause multiple copies of the viral DNA to enter the infected cell instead of just one. This triggers the cell’s apoptosis mechanism. The benefit of the new drug is that it targets only the cells infected by the virus while leaving the healthy ones unharmed. Hence, no harsh side effects are expected to the Gammora therapy. Moreover, introducing the peptide to carcinogenic cells with non-functional DNA will cause these cells to die so that when administered with DNA molecules to cancer patients, the tumor will be destroyed.


Can cannabis turn back the aging process? Israeli researchers restore the memory performance of lab mice to a juvenile stage. Clinical trials on humans are next, by ISRAEL21c, May 14, 2017. Excerpt:

As our brain ages, our cognitive abilities naturally decrease and it becomes more difficult to learn new things or devote attention to several things at the same time.

Researchers have long been looking for ways to slow down or even reverse this process.

Scientists at the University of Bonn in Germany and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem report in Nature Medicine that they have now achieved this goal in mice by administering a small quantity of THC, the active ingredient in the hemp plant (cannabis).

Mice have a short lifespan and begin displaying pronounced cognitive deficits even at one year old. So the researchers gave doses of THC to lab mice at the ages of 12 and 18 months over a period of four weeks.

A low dose was chosen to avoid any intoxicating effect in the mice.

After the regimen of treatment, the scientists tested learning capacity and memory performance in the animals – including, for instance, orientation skills and their ability to recognize other mice.

Mice that were given only a placebo displayed natural age-dependent learning and memory losses. In contrast, the cognitive functions of the animals treated with cannabis were just as good as the functions of two-month-old mice used as a control group.


WATCH: Israel develops 1st blood-free device to self-diagnose heart attacks, World Israel News, May 18, 2017.

Amir Marmor, CEO of Israeli start-up CorAlert, describes the first non-invasive monitoring device that can diagnose heart failure as it’s happening, while the patient is still at home.


Israeli Scientists Make Huge Alzheimer’s Breakthrough, by Virtual Jerusalem, October 6, 2016. Excerpt:

There is new hope for Alzheimer’s patients. Scientists at Tel Aviv University have developed a new form of treatment which fixes the impaired gene that causes the illness. Mice that were treated recovered.

The treatment takes a new approach; targeting the APOE gene. The gene has two forms: a healthy form called APOE3 and a disease-related pathological form called APOE4. The researchers at TAU have developed an approach that will convert the bad form into the good form.

The research team is led by Prof. Daniel M. Michaelson, Director of the Eichenbaum Laboratory of Alzheimer’s Disease Research and incumbent of the Myriam Lebach Chair in Molecular Neurodegeneration at TAU’s Faculty of Life Sciences.

“APOE4 is a very important and understudied target,” Prof. Michaelson said. “It is expressed in more than 60 percent of Alzheimer’s patients. Anti-APOE4 treatments are thus expected to have a major impact on the patient population.


Miracle drug with Israeli roots saves Jewish hockey player hit with cancer, by Abigail Pickus, Times of Israel, March 11, 2017. Excerpt:

CHICAGO — Hockey had been the focal point of Sam Fields’ life for almost as long as he can remember.

A Chicago native who got into the sport at the age of eight, Fields had been playing professional hockey for about five years when he was tapped for a tryout with the National Hockey League. At the age of 27, he was on the cusp of becoming one of a handful of Jews in the NHL.

But just weeks before he was to head off to NHL training camp, Fields could barely rouse himself from bed. He was sleeping for 20-hour stretches, unable to shake off physical exhaustion. One day after forcing himself out of the house to run some errands, Fields passed out while behind the wheel of his car.

Initially, doctors thought he had the flu. But it quickly became clear that there was something much more serious going on. Fields eventually was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, or CML, a particularly aggressive form of cancer. Fewer than one in three such patients survived beyond five years, and Fields appeared to be in the advanced stages.

Hockey player Sam Fields was diagnosed with cancer at age 27, just weeks before he was scheduled to go to NHL training camp.


Revolutionary Israeli device can eliminate need for follow-up breast cancer surgery, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, February 9, 2017. Excerpt:

MarginProbe, which checks tumor’s edges while lumpectomy patient is still on operating table, is already in use in over 100 US hospitals.

Israel’s Dune Medical Devices has developed an instrument to help women with breast cancer avoid undergoing dreaded follow-up surgery to remove residual cancer cells after a tumor is removed. The device is already being used by surgeons on patients in more than 100 hospitals in the US and in Israeli medical centers.

When women undergo lumpectomies to remove breast cancers, the cancerous tissue is then sent to labs to ensure that the margins surrounding the tumor are clear of cancerous cells, so that the patients are truly cancer-free. Unfortunately, statistics show that when lab results are released, after a process that can take several weeks, one in four women is asked to return for re-excision — secondary surgery — if the tumors tested reveal that the margins are not clear, indicating some cancer cells remain in the patient’s body.

“We have developed the only technology in the world that has a commercial product that allows surgeons in operating rooms, in real time, to check the margins of the tumor, identify cancerous tissue and decide on the spot if more tissue needs to be removed or not,” Gal Aharonowitz, general manager in charge of Israeli operations, told The Times of Israel in a phone interview.


Your Breath Does More Than Repulse—It Can Also Tell Doctors Whether You Have Cancer, by Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, December 21, 2016. Excerpt:

An artificial “nose” could be the next tool for diagnosing illnesses from cancer to Crohn’s disease.

Your terrible breath is trying to tell you something—and not just that it’s time to crack open a bottle of Listerine. Within that cloud of onion and stale tuna fish odors are hundreds of chemical compounds, which combine in your mouth to create a ratio as unique as a fingerprint. By analyzing that ratio, researchers have come up with a powerful new way to detect the signatures of various diseases, from prostate cancer to Parkinson’s.

Today in the journal American Chemical Society Nano, researchers unveil a sensor array that identifies and captures the unique “breathprint” of 17 different diseases. The researchers hope that their array, which uses artificial intelligence to match up the varying levels and ratios of 13 key chemical compounds found in human breath to different diseases, will pave the way for a versatile medical diagnostic tool. After sampling the breath of more than 1,400 people, they found that their technique was able to discriminate among diseases with 86 percent accuracy. […]

But previously, such efforts have mainly been used to detect a single disease. In the new study, Hossam Haick, a nanotech expert at Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, and several dozen international collaborators aimed to lay the groundwork for a general diagnostic tool to identify the breath signatures of many diseases, including kidney failure, lung cancer, Crohn’s disease, MS, prostate and ovarian cancer, and more. Their array first assesses each compound’s relative abundance within a person’s breath, and then compares disease signatures against healthy individuals.

“We have a mixture of compounds which characterize a given disease, and this picture is different from one disease to another,” explains Haick. Using mass spectrometry analysis, the group first identified the specific compound signatures for 17 different diseases. They then sampled the breath of more than 1,400 people, using a sensory array of carbon nanotubes and gold particles to register which mix of compounds they exhaled. A suite of computer algorithms deciphered what the data told them about the presence or absence of each disease.


Israeli scientists stop breast cancer spread in mice, by Abigail Klein Leichman, ISRAEL21C, September 21, 2016. Excerpt:

In breast cancer breakthrough, scientists discover targeted delivery of microRNAs to primary tumors blocks the movement of cancer beyond the breast.

Israeli and American researchers revealed yesterday that treating a primary breast tumor in lab mice with both genetic therapy and chemotherapy is extremely effective in preventing breast cancer metastasis, the deadly spread of cancerous cells to vital organs.

Results of the breakthrough study were published in the September 19 online issue of Nature Communications by Noam Shomron of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine, Natalie Artzi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Shomron’s students Avital Gilam and Daphna Weissglas, Artzi’s student Joao Conde, and onco-geneticist Prof. Eitan Friedman of Sackler and Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.

“Our mission was to block a cancer cell’s ability to change shape and move,” explained Shomron. “Cancer cells alter their cytoskeleton structure in order to squeeze past other cells, enter blood vessels and ride along to their next stop: the lungs, the brain or other vital organs. We chose microRNAs as our naturally occurring therapy, because they are master regulators of gene expression.”

The researchers based their approach on the three “Ds” — database, drugs and delivery. The team began by exploring bioinformatics databases to investigate the span of mutations in a tumor and identify precisely which ones to target.


Mobile SniffPhone will detect cancer on a user’s breath, by David Shamah, Times of Israel, February 3, 2015. Excerpt:

Diagnostic system developed by Technion professor is to pair with tiny smell-sensitive sensor that can go anywhere.

An innovative early disease detection system that uses the sense of smell is going mobile.

The NaNose breathalyzer technology developed by Professor Hossam Haick of the Technion will soon be installed in a mobile phone – to be called, appropriately, the SniffPhone. A tiny smell-sensitive sensor will be installed onto a phone add-on, and using specially designed software, the phone will be able to “smell” users’ breath to determine if they have cancer, among other serious diseases.

By identifying the special “odor” emitted by cancer cells, the NaNose system can detect the presence of tumors, both benign and malignant, more quickly, efficiently and cheaply than previously possible, said Haick.

“Current cancer diagnosis techniques are ineffective and impractical,” he said. NaNose technology, he said, “could facilitate faster therapeutic intervention, replacing expensive and time-consuming clinical follow-up that would eventually lead to the same intervention.”

According to research done by Haick’s team, the NaNose system has a 90 percent accuracy rate.

A patient uses the NaNose breathalyzer.


[Israeli] Laser therapy with deep-sea drug kills prostate cancer in trial, by Kate Kelland, Reuters, December 20, 2016. Excerpt:

A non-surgical treatment for low-risk prostate cancer in which doctors inject a light-sensitive drug derived from deep-sea bacteria into a patient’s bloodstream was shown in a trial to kill cancer cells without destroying healthy tissue.

Results of a trial in 413 patients showed that the drug, which is activated with a laser to destroy tumor tissue in the prostate, was so effective that half the patients went into remission, compared with 13.5 percent in a control group.

“These results are excellent news for men with early localized prostate cancer, offering a treatment that can kill cancer without removing or destroying the prostate,” said Mark Emberton, a University College London consultant urologist who led the trial. “This is truly a huge leap forward.”

The treatment, called vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy or VTP, was developed by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel in collaboration with the privately-owned STEBA Biotech.


Israeli-developed molecule shown to protect brain, by Judy Siegel, The Jerusalem Post, July 12, 2016. Excerpt:

“This research demonstrates the potential for TXM-peptides to significantly reduce cognitive impairment after mild traumatic brain injury.”

A single dose of a new molecule developed by Hebrew University researchers has been shown to protect the brain – so far in mice – from inflammation, cell death and cognitive impairments that often occur after a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

This injury occurs frequently in children (for example in school and road accidents) and adults, particularly among athletes and the elderly (when they fall). But because external signs or objective structural brain damage can not been seen, mTBI is an under-diagnosed injury. But it is often accompanied by long-lasting cognitive, behavioral and emotional difficulties associated with biochemical and cellular changes.

While mTBI symptoms mostly disappear within days or weeks of the injury, up to half of mTBI patients experience symptoms even a year after injury. These may include psychological symptoms, subjective cognitive impairments, and bodily complaints.

At present, there is no effective treatment for patients with mTBI.

“It is widely known that external or internal injury strongly activates the inflammatory response and leads to cell death through the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways, which are involved in the cellular responses that lead to inflammation in brain cells,” said Prof. Daphne Atlas, from the biological chemistry department at the university’s Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences.

“Therefore, for reversing the effects of mTBI, it is essential to calm the inflammatory pathways.”

At her Jerusalem lab, Atlas developed new molecules derived from the active site of Trx1, called thioredoxin-mimetic peptides (TXM-peptides).


WATCH: Israeli ‘Wonder Cream’ Rapidly Heals Wounds!, by World Israel News, July 18, 2016. Excerpt:

One of the worst results of a deep wound is the difficult healing process. Israeli company Biotreat 21 has invented what it calls a miracle cream, claiming it could completely regrow damaged skin by utilizing one’s own immune system. Initial trials have erased scars and even healed severe diabetic ulcers.

“All of us suffer from cuts, scrapes, bruises, burns. One, they are painful, and two, they don’t heal well,” says Dr. Mark Lubin, Biotreat 21’s marketing and communications director, explaining what the product contains and how it works. It’s still in the testing stage, however, so the public will have to wait a bit longer to try it.


High-pressure oxygen for fibromyalgia, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, August 18, 2015. Excerpt:

Hyperbaric oxygen chambers are used in many countries to treat patients with embolisms, burns, carbon monoxide poisoning and decompression sickness. Now, an Israeli study shows that the high-pressure pure oxygen treatments are also helpful for people who suffer from fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome affecting an estimated one in 70 Americans, most of them women.

The study, published recently in the journal PLoS ONE, describes how the researchers were able to map the malfunctioning brain regions responsible for the syndrome, and used hyperbaric oxygen treatment to drastically reduce, or even eliminate, the need for pain medication.

“As a physician, the most important finding for me is that 70 percent of the patients could recover from their fibromyalgia symptoms,” said Dr. Shai Efrati, director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research and head of R&D at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tzrifin, and a faculty member at the Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University (TAU).

Fibromyalgia can be triggered by head trauma, a neurological infection or severe emotional stress, and causes symptoms such as musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, memory loss and mood swings. Few therapies have been found to be effective in assuaging its symptoms.


Israeli researchers discover why diets don’t work, by Arutz Sheva, November 20, 2015. Excerpt:

Research in Israel shows effects of foods can be radically different from person to person, proving importance of microbiome.

A healthy food for one person may lead another to gain weight, according to a study out Thursday that suggests a one-size-fits-all approach to dieting is fundamentally wrong.

For instance, one woman in the study repeatedly experienced a spike in blood sugar after eating tomatoes, which would generally be considered a low-fat, nutritious food.

The findings are based a study of 800 people in Israel, and are published in the journal Cell Press.

“The first very big surprise and striking finding that we had was the very vast variability we saw in people’s response to identical meals,” said researcher Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

Participants wore blood sugar monitors that took measurements every five minutes for an entire week.

They also provided stool samples so that their gut microbiome could be analyzed, and kept a careful log of everything they consumed.

None of the participants had diabetes, but some were obese and had a condition known as pre-diabetes.

Researchers were stunned to see the difference in people’s metabolic responses to the exact same foods.


Researchers Regenerate Heart Cells In What Could Be A Huge Breakthrough For Heart Disease Treatments, by Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels, May 6, 2015. Excerpt:

Heart attacks are one of the most common and deadly human ailments, with a cardiovascular event striking once every 34 seconds in the United States. Yet few know that following a heart attack, a good portion of the heart muscles remain damaged, leaving patients at risk for future heart failure and other serious cardiovascular diseases. And despite the brevity of most cardiovascular events, human heart cells rarely regenerate (unlike blood, hair and skin cells), which led researchers at the Weizmann Institute in Israel to question whether heart cells can be programmed to reverse damage in the heart.

Prof. Eldad Tzahor and Dr. Gabriele D’Uva succeeded in both understanding why heart cells don’t regenerate in repairing damaged heart muscles in mice. These insights may be key in formulating a treatment for heart conditions related to and following heart attacks, that is if the researchers succeed in regenerating heart cells in human subjects as well.

Using his knowledge of embryonic development, particularly as it pertains to the heart, Tzahor set out to understand why humans are naturally unable to regenerate their own heart cells. Animals, like salamanders and zebrafish, are able to regenerate heart cells, and though they don’t usually live through heart attacks (if they have any) their hearts are able to naturally recuperate from minor cardiovascular events.


Inspired By Israeli Air Force Simulators, Former Pilots Develop 3D Brain Simulator for Surgeons, by Betty Ilovici, NoCamels, December 25, 2014. Excerpt:

For decades, pilots have practiced for combat missions using flight simulators. Now, brain surgeons are adopting a similar ritual, using flight simulation technology during both rehearsal for and practice of complex microsurgical procedures.

Surgical Theater, founded by former Israeli Air Force officers Alon Geri and Moty Avisar in 2010, developed a revolutionary brain surgery simulation method for doctors. Much like a flight simulator, Surgical Theater helps surgeons with pre-operative and intra-operative surgery preparation, making sure that doctors are fully briefed and prepared before embarking on complex surgical procedures.

Non-Invasive Brain Navigation System Helps to Remove Tumors

Preparation is crucial; nearly 70,000 new cases of brain tumors will be diagnosed in the US next year, 4,600 of them in children, according to the American Brain Tumor Association.

Previous simulators in the medical field were designed for training and teaching, but Surgical Theater takes simulation to a new level of planning and rehearsal. Geri and Avisar have come up with a simulator that enables brain surgeons to rehearse on 3D holograms (images) before actually performing complex procedures, such as removing cancerous tumors and treating aneurysms, on the patient.

Surgeons using Surgical Theater


Wearable device slows brain tumor growth, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, February 4, 2015. Excerpt:

TTFields therapy, developed by an Israeli scientist, delivers low-intensity alternating electric fields via a scalp device to inhibit cancer cells.

A novel wearable device, already used on nearly 2,000 patients to slow the growth of cancerous glioblastoma brain tumors using electrical fields, is now being tested to judge its effectiveness against other types of solid tumors.

A novel wearable device, already used on nearly 2,000 patients to slow the growth of cancerous glioblastoma brain tumors using electrical fields, is now being tested to judge its effectiveness against other types of solid tumors.

Novocure Chief Science Officer Eilon Kirson tells ISRAEL21c that the 15-year-old company’s Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) technology is being tested on ovarian and pancreatic cancer patients and patients with cancers that have spread to the brain.

At the same time, Novocure is involved in trials to see if TTFields can extend the life of even more patients with glioblastoma, the most common form of primary brain cancer in adults. Approximately 10,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year.

“Electric field-based therapy had never been used to treat cancer beyond very local therapies,” Kirson explains. “Treating entire parts of the body this way is a completely novel concept and technology, and there is no other one like it. Novocure owns the entire IP portfolio for the science and the product.”

TTFields therapy, developed by Dr. Yoram Palti, now a retired Technion professor, is delivered via a non-invasive electrode device attached to the patient’s scalp. The low-intensity alternating electric fields have been clinically proven to slow and even reverse tumor growth by inhibiting the process of cells division and replication.


Israel’s Exelon inventor sees an end to Alzheimer’s, by David Shamah, Times of Israel, April 22, 2015. Excerpt:

Medicine’s next great challenge is to help people live better-quality lives, says Dr. Marta Weinstock-Rosin, one of this year’s Independence Day torch-lighters.

Dr. Marta Weinstock-Rosin, inventor of Exelon, a drug that improves memory and slows its decline in subjects with Alzheimer’s disease, is a big believer in the ability of medical science to help people live longer and better-quality lives. “It’s sad to see someone who is afflicted with a disease like Alzheimer’s,” Weinstock-Rosin told the Times of Israel. “On the other hand, Alzheimer’s is a modern phenomenon; 100 years ago you never saw people like that, because they all died of other diseases before the brain degenerated.”

And eventually, she believes, a preventive treatment will be found for Alzheimer’s and the other maladies of the brain, along with cancer, heart disease, and the other great medical challenges of the modern era. Exelon, the drug she created to treat Alzheimer’s, is just the beginning. “A young person today may live to see a time when Alzheimer’s and many of the other great challenges are preventable,” she said.

Rivastigmine, commercially known as Exelon, is one of the most important drugs to have emerged from Israeli medical research labs in recent years. In recognition of this fact, its chief developer, Weinstock-Rosin, was awarded the Israel Prize for Medicine last year for her work. In a further honor, Weinstock-Rosin was chosen this year to light of one of the twelve ceremonial torches that inaugurate Independence Day in Israel Wednesday night. The torches are usually lit by individuals who have made a significant contribution to Israeli life, with the theme this year focusing on individuals who have made “breakthrough innovations” in science, technology, business, and culture.


[Israel] Beating the malaria parasite at its own game, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, April 22, 2015. Excerpt:

Israeli scientists develop a novel method to suppress malaria parasite’s virulence genes so that it cannot evade the immune system.

Up to one million people — mainly pregnant woman and young children — are killed each year by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which causes the most devastating form of human malaria.

Israeli researchers have now revealed the genetic trickery this deadly parasite deploys to escape attack by the human immune system.

The parasite replicates within the circulating blood of infected individuals and modifies the surface of the infected red blood cells. It hides from the immune system by selectively varying which surface protein, or antigen, it displays at any one time.

Hebrew University Prof. Ron Dzikowski has long believed that understanding exactly how the deadly Plasmodium falciparum parasite bypasses the immune system – and bypasses drug therapies as well — will open the door to a more effective battle plan against the malaria parasite, which infects about 250 million people worldwide.

“Others are looking for drugs or vaccines, but the parasite is always one step ahead of us,” he told ISRAEL21c in 2013, when he won a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant for his team’s work in uncovering this genetic mechanism. “Our approach is to understand how these parasites evade immune attack, and then we can learn how to disrupt this ability.”

With his PhD student Inbar Amit-Avraham, Dzikowski recently found the key: At the precise moment in the cell cycle when a specific gene of the parasite is displayed, corresponding long noncoding RNA molecules (lncRNAs) incorporate themselves into DNA structures, determining how the parasite selects a single gene for expression while the rest of the family is kept silent.

Prof. Ron Dzikowski with PhD student Inbar Amit-Avraham.


Israeli-developed breath test catches stomach cancer early, by David Shamah, Times of Israel, April 14, 2015. Exerpt:

NaNose, the Technion-built nano-technology detection system, proves as effective as standard method, far simpler, cheaper.

The NaNose technology developed at Israel’s Technion is an effective tool in detecting early-stage gastric (stomach) cancer, according to a study published Monday in the medical journal Gut.

The study showed that the tech was able to detect elements indicating the onset of the cancer in the breath of patients, matching the results picked up by the standard method of gastric cancer detection, called GCMS (gas chromatography mass spectrometry).

The advantage of his method, said Dr. Hossam Haick of the Technion, inventor of NaNose, is that the nano-tech breath analysis is a lot cheaper and presents results far more quickly than GCMS. “The attraction of this test lies in its non-invasiveness, ease of use, rapid predictiveness, and potentially low cost,” enabling doctors in clinics who don’t have access to the expensive needed for GCMS analysis to diagnose stomach cancer.

“Mostly the patient arrives for diagnosis when the symptoms of the sickness have already begun to appear,” Haick told The Times of Israel in an interview earlier this year, describing the drawbacks in current detection protocols. “Months pass before a real analysis in completed. And the process requires complicated and expensive equipment such as CT and mammography imaging devices. Each machine costs millions of dollars, and end up delivering rough, inaccurate results.”

The NaNose technology, installed in a breathalyzer device, on the other hand, doesn’t require anything more than a patient’s breath in order to come up with an initial diagnosis. Cancer tumors produce chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which easily evaporate into the air and produce a discernible scent profile. Haick’s NaNose chip detects the unique “signature” of VOCs in exhaled breath. In four out of five cases, the device differentiated between benign and malignant lung lesions and even different cancer subtypes.


Israeli app offers alternative to hyperactivity medications, by Viva Sarah Press, ISRAEL21C, April 8, 2015. Excerpt:

Forget Ritalin, new Israeli company Myndlift has an app that can improve attention disorders without negative side effects.

Aziz Kaddan, one of the co-founders of Myndlift, didn’t flinch when asked in front of an audience of global entrepreneurs and scientists at the recent BrainTech conference in Tel Aviv how he plans to go up against the better-funded American companies with his alternative non-drug treatment for attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Myndlift uses neurofeedback, also known as electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback, to train the brain to focus. It’s a computer-based technique developed and tested by NASA to improve attention, focus and learning.

Kaddan, the 22-year-old phenomenon taking Israel’s brain-tech world by storm, knows the path to changing hyperactivity treatment is a tough one but he’s positive his app-based, wearable neurofeedback solution, coupled with specially tailored mobile games that only work through concentration, can increase attention levels with just 10 minutes of play time a day.

“I know that I have a product that has a value to a lot of people,” he tells ISRAEL21c, from his co-working space for high-tech entrepreneurship and innovation at Tel Aviv’s public library.

Myndlift’s idea is to get sufferers of ADD and ADHD off medications like Ritalin, which suppresses appetite and has other negative side effects, and help them focus their minds using a mobile app, neurofeedback and a brain-sensing wearable technology.

The Myndlift team, from left: CEO Aziz Kaddan, customer relations specialist Amr Khalaily, lead developer Hilal Diab and CTO Anas Abu Mukh.


Nano-bullet tech shoots down brain cancer in Tel Aviv U study, by David Shamah, Times of Israel, April 12, 2015. Excerpt:

Israeli researchers may have discovered a way to beat the worst form of malignant glial tumors

The worst form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is considered largely incurable by doctors. Victims generally die within a year and a half of being diagnosed with the tumors. It’s such a devastating disease that the National Academy of Sciences calls it “the Terminator.” But an innovative nanotech-based “end-run” around cancer cells by Tel Aviv University researchers could provide doctors with a new way to treat – or even cure – GBM and other malignant killer cancers.

The technique, developed by Prof. Dan Peer of TAU’s Department of Department of Cell Research and Immunology and Scientific Director of TAU’s Center for NanoMedicine, has proven itself in the past: It’s based on the “cancer bullet” system Peer and other TAU researchers developed that delivers chemotherapy directly to cancer cells, using bioadhesive liposomes (BALs), consisting of regular liposomes reduced to nano-sized particles that attach themselves to the cancerous cells. Peer and Prof. Rimona Margalit, with whom he developed the method, have published several studies showing its effectiveness.

That research was done on ovarian cancer tumors, and it proved to be effective – but that wasn’t the case when it came to GBM, which is far less responsive to chemotherapy. Prof. Zvi R. Cohen, Director of the Neurosurgical Oncology Unit and Vice Chair at the Neurosurgical Department at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital in central Israel, contacted Peer to discuss whether anything could be done for individuals suffering from the aggressive and fatal form of brain cancer.

“I was approached by a neurosurgeon insistent on finding a solution, any solution, to a desperate situation,” said Peer. “Their patients were dying on them, fast, and they had virtually no weapons in their arsenal. Prof. Zvi Cohen heard about my earlier nanoscale research and suggested using it as a basis for a novel mechanism with which to treat gliomas,” the cancers that originate in glial cells in the spine or brain, of which GBM is the most devastating.


To Stop Cancer From Spreading: Shoot The Messenger, by NoCamels, April 9, 2015. Excerpt:

Humans need to communicate with each other in order to get things done – at work and at home. But so do the cells inside our bodies, which transmit messages from their outer walls to their inner nucleus. These messages prompt them to take immediate action. Now, it turns out that if cancerous cells don’t receive certain messages, the spread of cancer throughout the body can be halted. How? Israeli researchers have come up with a method of shutting off the overflow of information that creates cancerous mutations.

The average living cell must transmit a constant stream of messages quickly and efficiently from its outer walls to the inner nucleus, where most of the day-to-day “decisions” are made. But this rapid, long-distance communication system leaves itself open to mutations that can give rise to a “spam attack” that promotes cancer. Weizmann Institute scientists have identified a potential drug molecule that stops only cancerous cells (not healthy ones) from getting their “mail.”

Weizmann Institute’s Prof. Rony Seger and his team have proposed a new method of shutting off the overflow of information before it can get to the nucleus. Their method could be used to treat a number of different cancers, especially several that develop resistance to current treatments, and it might possibly induce fewer side effects than those treatments do. These findings were recently published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.


Diabetics worldwide to benefit from artificial pancreas, by David Shamah, Times of Israel, April 7, 2015. Excerpt:

Medical device giant Medtronic will use a unique algorithm developed at an Israeli hospital to help patients in 120 countries.

Israeli medical tech firm DreaMed Diabetes has struck a deal with Medtronic, the world’s biggest medical device company, to use its MD-Logic Artificial Pancreas algorithm in Medtronic’s insulin pumps.

Under the terms of the agreement, DreaMed Diabetes will receive undisclosed royalties from future sales of each device utilizing MD-Logic.

In addition, Medtronic has made a minority investment in DreaMed Diabetes of $2 million.

A distribution deal with a company like Medtronic is about as big a deal as a medical technology developer of any type could hope to achieve. The company had nearly $30 billion in revenue last year, and a market cap well over $100 million, and operates in more than 160 countries.

Working with a company like that is extremely exciting, said Prof. Moshe Phillip, MD, chairman and chief scientific officer of DreaMed Diabetes. Phillip is also director of the Institute for Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, which is located in Petah Tikvah — where the system was developed.

What was especially exciting, he said, was that the project was started a mere one year ago. “This is an extremely gratifying validation of our technology and a major milestone for our company,” said Phillip.


Israeli scientists develop body armor inspired by fish skin, by Tamar Pileggi, Times of Israel, April 8, 2015. Excerpt:

The protective yet flexible material could be used to protect soldiers and space-walking astronauts.

Israeli scientists have recently developed an innovative new material able to withstand bullets and knife attacks that could revolutionize body armor technology.

Inspired by the scaly skin of fish, researchers from the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology designed a hybrid double-layered material that provides protection against penetration while preserving flexibility.

“The secret behind this material is in the combination and design of hard scales above with soft, flexible tissue below,” lead researcher Assistant Professor Stephan Rudykh told American Technion Society — a university-affiliated website — last month.

While strength and flexibility are generally competing properties, Rudykh said that his team found that by varying the angle in which the scales are arranged, it was possible to increase their resistance to penetration by up to 40 times, while the flexibility of the material only decreased by 5 times.

Researchers used a 3D printer to create the hard, outer surface out of acrylic-based plastic scales positioned at varying angles between 10 and 45 degrees. Afterwards, the outer layer was attached over a softer material, meant to mimic the flexibility of skin.

Rudykh hopes that by using 3D printing, body armor made from the material could be customized for body type or fined-tuned for different scenarios. In addition to making bulletproof clothing for the military, the material could be used to protect space-walking astronauts from radiation and micro-meteors.

Assistant Professor Stephan Rudykh with a sample of the durable material (photo credit: Technion — Israel Institute of Technology)


Israeli Vaccine Blocks 90% of Cancer Types, by Arutz Sheva, January 2, 2015. Excerpt:

Vaxil BioTherapeutics’s ImMucin trains immune system to fight cancer cells and prevent the disease’s return for early stages and remission.

An Israeli biotech company is developing a vaccine for cancer that it says can help prevent the return of the lethal disease for 90% of the different types of cancer.

Vaxil BioTherapeutics based in Nes Ziona has been developing ImMucin for more than five years, and already has seen strong success in testing indicating it can be a vital tool in combating cancer. The disease kills eight million people worldwide per year, and sees 14 million new cases diagnosed annually according to the World Health Organization.

“Vaxil is developing a drug to keep the cancer from coming back,” Vaxil’s CFO Julian Levy told NoCamels. “We are trying to harness the natural power of the immune system to fight against cancer by seeking out cancer cells and destroying them.”


New Israeli export an easy pill for patients to swallow, The Jewish News of Northern California, November 4, 2005. Excerpt:

For a tiny country, Israel has a very large impact on the world — be it for religious, political or technological reasons. Similarly, a new Israeli product — a miniscule medical device — could have huge implications for physicians and patients worldwide.

Known as “PillCam SB,” it is a camera so small it can travel through the small intestine as it takes pictures. It is marketed in the United States and more than 50 other countries; so far the device has been used on more than 230,000 patients worldwide.

Bay Area members of the American Academy of Family Practitioners recently gathered for an introduction to this camera — the size of a vitamin pill — that can examine their patients’ intestines.

“This is an easy way to examine the gut,” says Dr. Glenn Eisen, during a telephone interview following his late September presentation to doctors in San Francisco. Glenn is a consultant for Given Imaging, the Israeli company that markets the PillCam.

It was invented by Gavriel Iddan, an electro-optical engineer who previously worked at Israeli military manufacturer Rafael Israel Armament Development Authority, developing guided-missile technology.