Biblical discoveries of 2021; Successful trials for portable eye test; Hydrogen trucks for Israel; and much more!
by: Micheal Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Stopping cancer spreading during chemotherapy
A Technion doctorate student has discovered that the LOX enzyme plays a major role in helping cancer spread (metastasis) when the patient is having chemotherapy. Inhibiting LOX protects the patient from this deadly effect.
Hope for when cancer has spread
Israel’s New Phase has developed hyperthermic treatment that kills up to 50% of metastatic cancer. In animal and human trials, iron-oxide nanoparticles, produced in a lab managed by three Druze Arab women, are injected into stage 4 cancer patients, and then heated to 45º C using RF radiation.
Prostate cancer treatment is saving lives
Although not an Israeli treatment, Israel’s Sheba Medical Center is one of the few global hospitals treating prostate cancer patients with Lutetium-177 therapy. It attaches to prostate-specific membrane antigens (PSMAs) on tumors and emits beta radiation to neutralize them.
We have the cure inside us
Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute have found that misfolding proteins in the brain cells of ALS and Huntingdon’s sufferers can be corrected by other proteins already in the cell, called “chaperones”. But the cell doesn’t activate them or activates the wrong ones! New treatments are anticipated.
Longer-lasting heart valves
An Israeli-led team of researchers has prevented the deterioration of bioprosthetic heart valves (of animal origin). These last only 10 years due to calcification of the tissues. They used hearts from pigs that were engineered to stop expressing foreign sugars and this prevented calcification.
Repairing heart valves without replacing
The calcification of heart valves is currently resolved by transplanting a new prosthetic valve (see above). Israel’s Pi-Cardia (see here previously) has been developing the Leaflex system to treat the calcification, and is currently conducting human clinical trials across Europe.
Gut bacteria could prevent heart attacks
Scientists from Israel’s Rabin Medical Center and the Weizmann Institute studied the microbiome of 200 patients just hours after a heart attack. They found most were missing a Clostridiaceae family bacterium that was present in a control group. They are now isolating it into pill form.
Helping preemies absorb food
The ELGN-GI insulin formulation developed by Israel’s Elgan can save the lives of preterm babies with immature stomachs that cause feeding intolerance. It will avoid the adverse effects of intravenous nutrition, which often leads to infection and liver problems. A Phase 3 trial is being planned.
A physical therapist on your smartphone
Israel’s OneStep uses the power of the smartphone to analyze gait (how you walk) and provide feedback directly to patients and their physical therapists. OneStep is partnering with Kinomatic in the US to bring OneStep’s app to all patients using Kinomatic’s Virtual Reality solution.
Successful trials for portable eye test
Israel’s AEYE Health (see here previously) has just completed Phase 3 clinical trials of its hand-held retinal analysis system. The hand-held fundus camera and single-image AI software detected diabetic retinopathy with high accuracy, far better than current expensive specialist cameras.
The best partners for innovation
Israel’s Sheba Medical Center has again been ranked as the 10th best hospital in the world by Newsweek Magazine. Sheba also announced a partnership with GE Healthcare to develop digital healthcare solutions in cardiology, remote pregnancy monitoring and molecular imaging.
Global DNA sequencing center
Illumina – the world’s leading DNA sequencing company, worth over $50 billion, is opening a Center of Excellence in Tel Aviv. It will develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions that dramatically shorten genome analysis time for diagnosing rare diseases and transform lives.
Several issues of the international journal Advanced Materials, including cover pages, feature the breakthrough skin patches developed in the lab of Israel’s Technion Arab Professor Hossam Haick (see here previously). They include Strain sensors, Wound dressing (and cover), Micro-needles sensor, Electronic skin and more.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Empowering women scientists
Another chance to watch the Ben Gurion University webinar “Empowering Young Women in Science” on Weds 23rd March at noon Eastern Time. BGU’s SheSpace program encourages female high school students to be involved in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Arab Israelis speak
Israeli Arab Yoseph Haddad, an ex-Commander in the IDF, speaks at an event in Australia about the lives of Arab Israelis in Israel. And Israeli cabinet minister Issawi Frej, who is Muslim, gave an important message to journalists at a briefing for journalists at the Knesset – Israel’s parliament.
Gaza exports to Israel doubles
Exports of agricultural produce from Gaza to Israel jumped by 142% in the first two months of 2022. The Jan-Feb export figure amounted to 2,501 metric tons, up from 1,033 metric tons in the first two months of 2021. The increase was primarily due to better facilitation by Israel.
Partners from the ground up
Amazing video featuring Israel-based Ariel Global Links, which has developed a technique in which hydroponic farming recycles its own water. But the real news is how the technology is being adopted in the United Arab Emirates with Arabs and Israelis working together.
2022 Dan David prizes
Every year, the Tel Aviv University based Dan David Foundation awards prizes of $300,000 each, to nine international outstanding early-and-mid-career scholars. Philanthropist Dan David escaped from Romania to Israel in 1960 and became a successful photographer and businessman.
Israel rescues its Arab citizens from Ukraine
Israeli aircraft carrying many Israeli Arabs fleeing Ukraine landed in Israel. Good articles showing how Israel makes efforts for all its people, takes care of every Israeli citizen of every religion, and finds them in any corner of the world. All were happy to be back home.
Aid to Ukraine
Israel is sending to the Ukraine 100 tons of water purification kits, medical equipment and treatments, tents, blankets, sleeping bags and more for displaced civilians. Meanwhile United Hatzalah (see last week) is now set up on Ukraine’s border with Moldovia together with Sheba hospital’s telemedicine facility.
Food for Ukrainian refugee
Several Israeli NGOs are currently distributing food to displaced Ukrainians at border crossings. They include Yad Ezer L’Haver (Helping Hand to a Friend), Rescuers Without Borders, SID-Israel – Society for International Development (Israel branch) and NATAN Worldwide Disaster Relief.
Telemedicine for Ukrainians
Israel’s TytoCare (see here previously) has donated 50 of its telemedicine devices to hospitals in isolated Ukrainian villages. Also, doctors in Israel’s Sheba Medical Center are treating Ukrainians 2,000 miles away on the Moldovan border with telemedicine systems such as Israel’s Pulsenmore.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Joint US-Israel cybersecurity
Several joint US-Israel cybersecurity initiatives have been launched recently. They include up to $12 million for ICRDE – a new consortium, to protect critical energy facilities. It will be led by Israel’s Ben Gurion University and Arizona State University. Also, research with US Homeland Security.
Beating the blues
Israeli food-tech startup Gavan has created a wide array of natural blue colorings for hot-and cold drinks. Derived from spirulina from blue-green algae, the kosher, vegan colorings are stable under high-heat processing and in low pH, enabling full pasteurization.
Intelligent visual shopping
Israel’s Selectika provides shoppers with their own optimal digital assortment and provides retailers with real-time data and analytics and trends. Originally developed to help people buy clothes using advanced technology, it has grown to a full intelligence system for brands and retailers.
Intelligent video transmission
Israel’s Maris-Tech develops and markets intelligent communications and monitoring systems for homeland security and the autonomous car industry. Customers include Elbit Systems, Israel’s Defense Ministry, Rafael, and Israel Aerospace Industries. It just raised $17.8 million in a Nasdaq IPO.
Hydrogen trucks for Israel
Israeli vehicle retailer Colmobil is to import hydrogen-fueled trucks built by Hyundai for Israeli companies Bazan and Sonol. Hyundai has been testing its hydrogen trucks in Israel and has invested in Israel’s H2Pro, which is producing hydrogen at scale using electrolysis (see here previously).
Dry no more
The water level of Israel’s Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) should never again drop to dangerous levels once Israel implements its next major water project. Excess water produced by Israel’s desalination plants will be pumped into the Kinneret. Two more plants are being built and water may also help replenish the Dead Sea.
Israel’s GenCell Energy has made a scientific breakthrough by producing ammonia with zero emissions, direct from water at very low temperature and pressure compared to traditional ammonia production processes. The project began a year ago and Japan’s TDK Corporation will help CenCell to the next milestone.
How plants grow roots in the air
Scientists at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University have found the mechanism that enables some plants to grow aerial roots, e.g., ivy and fiscus trees. They identified the genes that instruct root cells to grow upwards. It will help grow crops that resist soil disease and make best use of valuable land.
Connecting low-tech workers with hi-tech
Israel’s Connecteam (see here previously) allows companies to share computer facilities with low tech workers who don’t have a computer or email. Its software is designed to help manage the more than 2.7 billion workers or 80% of the global workforce that are not tied to a desk.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Israelis take fewest sick days worldwide
UK business information organization Small Business Prices found that in 2020, Israeli employees took an average of 3.9 sick days from work due to illness – the lowest of the 28 countries analyzed, suggesting a strong work ethic. The UK was 2nd (4.4 days) and Germany last (16.3 days).
Tnuva launches food-tech fund
Israeli food giant Tnuva has launched a Tnuva NEXT – new venture capital fund focused on investments in food tech startups and companies. Tnuva invested some NIS 30 million in 2021 including the Fresh.Start incubator in Kiryat Shmona (see here previously).
Investing in 3D printing
Israeli crowdfunding platform OurCrowd is hosting a virtual event “New Frontiers in 3D Printing” on 8th March at 6pm Israel time (11am ET). Speakers include from Israeli 3D startups Plantish, Nexa3D and Largix and features a new Nas Daily video about the Plantish 3D-printed vegan salmon.
More money for cybersecurity
Israeli Venture Capital firm Cyberstarts (see here previously) has launched its third VC fund – a $200 million Opportunity Fund, for follow-on investments in growing cybersecurity companies. Cyberstarts’ first fund is one of the world’s best performing funds, averaging 300% annual return.
Walmart helps Israeli health shakes to grow
Israel’s Nutritional Growth Solutions (see here previously has announced that US giant retailer Walmart will sell NGS’s Healthy Heights line of children’s growth-support protein shakes on its on-line platform. They will also be available via the RangeMe online marketplace.
Hit by fraud, so founded a startup
When the founders of Israel’s nSure.ai started their previous company, they were pleased with initial sales, only to find that 40% involved fraudulent credit cards. Exiting approval systems were ineffective, so they so they decided to solve the problem by building their own.
Israel’s latest Unicorn
Israeli homebuilding tech company Veev (see here previously) has just raised $400 million at a valuation of over $1 billion.
Exits, acquisitions and mergers
Israeli fintech startup Finaro, formerly known as Credorax, has been acquired by US payments company Shift4 for $575 million.
Investment in Israeli startups to 6/3/22:
Veev raised $400 million; Connecteam raised $120 million; Agritask raised $26 million; Maris-Tech raised $17.8 million (IPO); Tastewise raised $17 million; nSure.ai raised $13 million; Propel (PR) raised $4.5 million; Vensica raised $3 million; Visionary.ai raised $2.5 million; MedHub raised $1 million; Selectika raised $0.5 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Promoting diverse culture in Jerusalem
The Jerusalem International Fellows’ 10-week residency program brings leading international visual & performing artists, choreographers, architects, and urban planners, to work with local independent artists, ensembles, and cultural institutions in East and West Jerusalem.
Return to Jerusalem
The Conference of Presidents returned to Jerusalem, featuring global VIPs including from the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco. The Shaon Horef (Winter Noise) street festival is back. There are many tourists on Jerusalem’s Streets, and we look forward to Purim festivities and the Jerusalem Marathon.
Making a splash
In a historic first, the Israeli national men’s water polo team qualified for the European Championship to be held in Split, Croatia in the summer. They defeated Turkey 9:7 in the qualifying tournament at Wingate Institute in Netanya. The women’s team have qualified several times in the past.
THE JEWISH STATE
Biblical discoveries of 2021
Good summary of ancient Jewish archaeological finds in Israel last year. They include a 2nd Temple period synagogue, more Dead Sea scrolls, King David’s purple die, Gideon’s inscription, an 8th century BCE earthquake site. Plus the Yavne site of the Sanhedrin, a Temple shekel and a royal toilet.
Purim extravaganza for special kids
The ADI Negev Nahalat Eran Rehabilitation Village in southern Israel held a special early Purim celebration for children with disabilities. The children’s specially designed Purim costumes were made thanks to volunteers with the Israeli nonprofit TOM – Tikkun Olam Makers.
Celebrate Purim with Israel
For readers of this newsletter in the US, this link will help you find events organized by the Israeli American Council to enjoy the Jewish festival of Purim.
An 80-year-old man collapsed in Petach Tikvah after a falafel (fried chickpea ball) got stuck in his lungs. Two passing paramedics tried CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver, fluids, and a respirator, to restore the man’s pulse. Finally, they used an intracanal tube, removed the falafel, and his pulse returned.
32 lives saved in one month
In Dec 2021, Israel’s largest health support organization Ezer Mizion facilitated transplants that saved 32 lives in 10 countries. Nearly 400 lives were saved in 2021. Over 1.1 million donors are now registered in the world’s largest Jewish bone marrow registry database.
“This time we have a country”
Many of the 200,000 Ukrainian citizens eligible to immigrate under Israel’s law of return will be transported to Israel, thanks to funding from The Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod and other global donors. Israel also rescued 100 Jewish orphans and is bringing them to Israel.