On the Jewish festival of Passover, we sing the song “Dayenu”, which means “Enough”. The song expresses our thanks for each stage of the Exodus from Egypt and we highlight that each event on the journey would have itself been sufficient. Medical achievements of the modern State of Israel, however, clearly shows that today’s Israelis are not content with doing merely “enough” as these examples from the last 3 months illustrate.
In the medical arena, Israeli scientists have broken all bounds in their search for cures for deadly diseases. Not only have three Israeli research teams discovered what keeps cancer cells growing, but they have just found a chemical that causes them to self-destruct. Another cancer treatment from Israel’s VBL Therapeutics in Phase 3 testing prevents solid tumors from obtaining sufficient blood supply – causing them to die.
Just in case any of these amazing discoveries don’t succeed, scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have used a twin-attack using inhibiting molecules EGFR and PYK2 against previously incurable triple-negative breast cancer, to significantly reduce the size of tumors. Meanwhile, the amazing MRI-focused ultrasound treatment from Israel’s Insightec that has been curing tremors and removing uterine fibroids has now been given the CE mark to go beyond its current boundaries and additionally treat prostate cancer non-invasively. And Technion’s Israeli-Arab Professor Hossam Haick is taking his Na-Nose breath test further by using it to detect cancer even in apparently “healthy” people.
Cancer treatment in Israeli hospitals is not limited just to Israeli citizens. At Sheba hospital in Tel Hashomer,
40% of Dr. Yoram Neumann’s oncology patients are Palestinian-Arab children from the Territories and Gaza. Indeed, Palestinian Arab children occupy 50% of the unit’s beds. Meanwhile, Israeli and Palestinian Arab researchers have been working together to discover risk factors for B Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in both communities.
It seems so appropriate that the Israeli biotech Biondvax has developed the Universal Flu Vaccine M-001. Israeli scientists felt that it was not sufficient to target individual strains of influenza, but to look for a comprehensive solution. A 20% subsidy from the Israeli Government, plus a $2.8 million private investment should hopefully be sufficient for Biondvax to build a factory producing tens of millions of doses of M-001 annually, including for Phase 3 trials.
Here are some more, recent Israeli medical innovations that are “over and above” what most would consider normal thinking. First, instead of treating resistant MRSA infections with limited antibiotics, researchers at Israel’s Technion Institute have neutralized the deadly bacteria by attacking the unique amyloid fibrils it uses to attack the immune system. Next, patients will soon no longer suffer damage to brain tissue and spinal cord during neurosurgery thanks to the ArtiFascia biodegradable nanofiber protective patch developed by Israeli biotech Nurami Medical. Nurami, by the way, was founded by Israeli Jewish and Arab graduates.
Then, when sufferers of blood loss trauma were found to be dying of hypothermia, Israeli startup QinFlow’s developed its Warrior portable system which warms the bloods and fluids used in transfusions faster than any alternative system.
Who but Israelis would have gone this far? One of Insightec’s tremor patients was petrified of being enclosed in the MRI treatment machine, so staff at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center first gave him hypnosis therapy, and now he’s cured of the tremor and the psychosis! Or how about the PMD200 device, developed by Israel’s Medasense Biometrics and recently granted European approval, that can monitor pain in unconscious patients so that surgeons can still effectively assess and manage their pain? And the HyperQ device from Israel’s Biological Signal Processing (BSP) that discovers heart problems that normal ECG tests cannot. Even anti-Israel Venezuela has purchased them!
I have sufficient space only to mention Israeli startup TPCera which uses the excretion from parasitic worms to treat auto-immune diseases. Or the smart human airbags developed by Israel’s Hip-Hope to protect the elderly from life-threatening falls. And only an Israeli company such as Medaware would have had the “chutzpa” to develop a system to tell doctors that they had written out a prescription that could endanger their patient’s life.
Israeli doctors recently saved an Arab baby born with her intestines outside her abdomen. After birth, surgeons at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital put her organs back in place and closed the wound with the Israeli TopClosure Tension Relief System.
Finally, Israeli surgeons at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital, can now detect and correct abnormalities in the fetus from eight weeks after conception. Irregular heartbeats, anemia, twins sharing placentas, congenital hernias, repairing spinal cord. Israeli doctors are saving life before it has even begun!
Israel - always trying to do more.
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
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