Get your fix – Israeli style

I’ll admit it – good news is addictive and I’m hooked. There is so much available on the street about Israel’s medical research, scientific discoveries, technical innovations, humanitarian work, economic successes and daily miracles. So what has your self-confessed optimistic ‘junkie’ found to make us all ‘high’ this week?
Continuing with the pharmacological theme, back in May Israeli biotech Compugen discovered 4 new protein variants that stimulate the immune system into targeting cancer cells. Now latest tests have shown that CGEN-15001T will fight carcinomas, sarcomas, melanoma and haematological cancers. In August a man suffering with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) was recovering thanks to Israeli biotech BrainStorm’s unique stem cell therapy using the drug NurOwn. Fellow sufferer Stephen Hawking may be interested to hear that recent formal controlled trials have proved that this success was definitely not a fluke. 


The phenomenal rate of Israel’s medical successes appears to be further speeding up. RedHill Biopharma is commencing advanced clinical trials of a once-a-day drug, code-named RHB-102, to prevent nausea and vomiting side effects from chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer. Then US General Electric Company is backing Israel’s Check-Cap who are developing an ingestible and disposable imaging capsule camera that can display the colon in 3D. The capsule will require no bowel cleansing and no hospital visit. Next, the US Food & Drug Administration has given approval to Israel’s Applied Spectral Imaging for its SpotScan GenASIs in-vitro aid that can detect chromosomal aberrations in bladder cancer. Finally, Israel’s CartiHeal has developed a unique implant Agili-C that turns body cells into bone and cartilage. The discovery (thanks to researchers at Ben Gurion University) has already received European Union certification based on pre-clinical trials alone.
Away from the laboratory, Israel has ‘fixed it’ for a group of Chinese dairy farmers to learn how to use advanced technologies to increase milk production. Experts from Israel’s Afimilk in cooperation with the Galilee College managed the 3-month training program and translated all the training material into Chinese. Meanwhile, Israel has made great efforts to fix pollution problems in Judea and Samaria. A new underground sewage pipeline now connects Nofim, Yakir, Etz Ephraim, Sha’arei Tikva and soon Ma’aleh Shomron, bringing all of their effluent to a treatment facility in Eliyahu. Unfortunately, for political reasons, the PA has refused to connect Palestinian Arab villages to the system. Still, at least our Arab neighbours are continuing to be dazzled by United Hatzalah’s rescue service. As have been global business leaders at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
In the hi-tech arena, Israeli companies have been busy developing solutions to fix diverse problems. The Honduras government-owned electric company ENEE is buying half-a-million electricity meters from Israel’s LR Group Ltd. The smart meters will be placed at homes and on top of power lines to thwart the widespread electricity theft in the country, which causes the utility corporation to lose some 30% in revenue each year.
Next, Israel’s Appliz has developed a free iPhone app called 4Singles that locates a potential partner using common interests and their current GPS location.   Then, using your iPhone, TvTak instantly detects what show or commercial you''re watching, allowing you to send program recommendations to friends or use the data to buy advertised products. Finally, clothing-size company Upcload allows Internet users to undergo an on-line fitting at home, using a standard webcam. The details can then be automatically passed on to clothing websites in order to buy their products.  


Art lovers can certainly be stimulated by the varied activities taking place at the moment. EPOS, Tel Aviv’s International art film festival, is the first film festival to be held in Israel that will be dedicated to encounters between the arts and cinema. And top non-Jewish American artists have donated nearly three-dozen paintings for an auction to support the Jerusalem Studio School that teaches young Israelis how to be great artists. But please take the opportunity to look over the Moshe Castel Art museum in Ma’aleh Adumim. Its magnificent location gives it the benefit of being beautiful looking inside and also looking out.
Finally, it is an unfortunate fact of life that Israel cannot fix everything for everybody. Oren Almog lost five members of his family as well his eyesight in the 2003 Maxim Restaurant terrorist bombing in Haifa, where 21 people were killed and 51 were wounded. Nine years after the atrocity, Oren decided to take the future into his own hands by volunteering to join the Israeli Defense Forces. He walked up to the ceremonial stage unassisted by either a cane or a guide dog, and swore an oath to the IDF to the applause and the tears of everyone in attendance.
Whatever power is maintaining his spirit – I would like some too!
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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