Agroup of Hadassah Medical Organization researchers have discovered the reason
for recurrent life-threatening infections and bone marrow failure in children.
Following six months of intensive research, they found a gene connected to
intracellular storage and transport in select white blood cells of the immune
system and bone marrow.
The research has just been published in the
prestigious journal Blood and has already drawn much interest
The researchers – Dr. Polina Stepensky, a pediatric
hematology/ oncology and bone marrow transplant specialist; Prof. Orly Elpeleg,
head of the genetics and metabolic diseases department; and Prof.
Mevorach, head of the internal medicine B department and director of the
rheumatology research center, began their interdisciplinary study when five
children from different families were admitted to Hadassah with recurrent,
serious infections with the subsequent bone marrow failure.
cutting-edge Hadassah technology, they focused on a specific gene found to be
defective in Arab families of Saudi Arabian descent.
It was then that the
researchers attempted to decipher the mechanism – how the defective gene led to
such a catastrophic illness.
They learned that the mutation caused
increased programmed cell death in select white blood cells and bone marrow.
Additionally, the researchers were able to show that the intracellular transport
system in the blood cells was collapsing due to the absence of intracellular
storage vesicles (lysosomes and alpha-granules).
An immediately obvious
advantage of these findings is the doctors’ ability to offer mutation testing
for the families of the sick children, as well as in the general population. As
of today, two of the children have recovered from this debilitating condition
thanks to successful bone marrow transplants performed at Hadassah.
FOR ORGAN RECIPIENT CHOICE
The Israeli technique for setting priorities for
allocating donated organs has been praised by Stanford University Prof. Alvin
Roth, recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Economics. At a conference held in
march on “Organ Donation and Incentives” – which was attended by Prof. Jacob
Lavee, head of the heart transplant unit at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer
– Roth praised how Israelis do it.
The local mechanism objectively hands
out points to potential organ recipients according to the severity of their
condition, their blood and tissue types and other criteria, and higher priority
to people who are registered as potential organ donors with the ADI
organization. The idea of providing a “jump in the queue” for organs to people
who have been registered for a specific time with ADI was proposed by Lavee, and
has proven very successful in bringing in many more donors.
that after studying the Israeli technique, he was persuaded that it is the best
and fairest available and can significantly increases the number of potential
TOBACCO CONTROL WORKS
Over a span of nearly 20 years,
California’s tobacco control program cost $2.4 billion and reduced health care
costs by $134b., according to a new study at the University of California at San
Francisco. Additionally, the study – published in PLoS One, covering the
beginning of the program in 1989 through 2008 – found that the state program
helped lead to some 6.8 billion fewer packs of cigarettes being sold that would
have been worth $28.5b. in sales to cigarette companies.
The study was
designed to calculate the fiscal impact of California’s large public health
program on smoking prevalence and cigarette consumption. The new research shows
that tobacco control funding is directly tied to reductions in both the
prevalence of smoking and cigarette consumption per smoker – and generates
significant savings in overall health care expenditures. “These health care cost
savings began to appear almost immediately after the program started and have
grown over time, reaching more than $25b. a year in 2008,” said UCSF clinical
pharmacy Prof. James Lightwood.
The study was designed to
calculate the fiscal impact of California’s large public health program on
smoking prevalence and cigarette consumption. The new research shows that
tobacco control funding is directly tied to reductions in both the prevalence of
smoking and cigarette consumption per smoker – and generates significant savings
in overall health care expenditures.
NEW CHAIRMAN OF MED SCHOOL DEANS
Prof. Yoseph Mekori, dean of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine,
has been named head of the Israel Medical School Deans’ Association. He replaces
Prof. Eran Leitersdorf, dean of the Hebrew University Medical Faculty in
The association coordinates the positions of the country’s
five medical schools on medical education and research, and represents the deans
when they voice their positions before state authorities in Israel and
MDA’S BRITISH FRIENDS HELP OUT
In 2012, Magen David Adom UK
launched an appeal for Israeli Holocaust survivors. The organization set out,
modestly, to raise $150,000. The appeal turned out to be one of the most
successful ever run, raising $250,000 for one of Israel’s neediest
Now, a year later, MDA UK is working directly with Israel’s
largest national survivors’ foundation.
With 35 survivors dying each day,
MDA UK is working without middlemen; the funds raised are going directly to
those who need it most, the organization’s leaders say. The effort is
functioning in conjunction with MDA in Israel, the Welfare and Social Services
Ministry, and UK Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould, who launched the initiative
over two years ago and is still actively involved today.
The funds have
been used to pay for survivors’ ambulance rides, medicines and emergency medical
treatment not covered by either the state or the public health funds. While
before the effort, many survivors in their 80s and 90s were reluctant to dial
101 for fear of getting a hefty MDA bill, they can now do so knowing that any
costs they incur will be covered, according to the friends’ organization’s chief
executive, Daniel Burger. At the end of May, Sir Ian Gainsford – life president
of Magen David Adom UK – will join Gould at the Holocaust Survivors’ Club to see
firsthand the people they are supporting.