Now we’re sixty-four

In the song by the Beatles, “64” is seen as an age when health issues could impact significantly on the quality of life. The Jewish State, however, has reached that milestone by announcing yet another series of medical successes that aims to keep us all growing older gracefully.
Israel is continually in the forefront of developments to help patients recover from heart attacks and strokes. ITGI Medical has just obtained the European Union’s CE Mark for its latest stent - the AneuGraftNx. The new stent is partially covered by living tissue, greatly reducing the risk of blockages. Meanwhile, Israel’s Prolor Biotech is working on preventing these attacks altogether. It announced positive results in pre-clinical trials of MOD-6030, its long-acting obesity/Type II diabetes drug.  In the field of cancer treatment, Israel’s Redhill Biopharma has completed final trials of RHB-102 – a once-a-day pill for the prevention of nausea in cancer patients. Once Redhill’s New Drug Application has been processed, patients undergoing radiation treatment and chemotherapy should notice the benefits. 
In the future, Israel’s work in genetics is going to eradicate diseases like diabetes and cancer, thus extending lifespans considerably.  In his latest research, Professor Eli Sprecher and his team from Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center, has just discovered the genetic basis for the serious and sometimes fatal autoimmune skin disease – pemphigus vulgaris.   Professor Sprecher previously achieved fame for his work into the genetic reason that some people do not have any fingerprints.


Israeli researchers know how vital it is to unlock the secrets of the immune system. Using Israel’s expertise in nanotechnology, Tel Aviv University scientists have developed a new method of prompting the immune system to create protective antibodies. Nano-particles made of pure gold will trigger varying immune responses when they are coated with different chemical residues. And as part of their research, GGA Laboratories in the Golan took a sample of DNA from the saliva of Israeli President Shimon Peres to use to investigate the secret of his longevity and mental clarity. 
Mental illness is a major threat to life. Latest trials of Brainsway’s Deep TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) device have shown that it can make a significant improvement to those suffering from severe depression. And over in the United States, Tel Aviv University Professor Yair Bar-Haim has been treating US soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with his innovative Attention Bias Modification treatment.
Israeli medical experts understand the importance of sharing information and collaborating with fellow professionals. A new open-access online medical journal seeks to promote intellectual interactions between scholars in Israel and abroad. All work on the Israel Journal of Health Policy Research (IJHPR) is voluntary and unpaid. The majority of the public, however, will want to know medical facts in simpler language. So Israel’s First Life Research has launched Treato, an on-line search engine that provides clear, organized medical information on symptoms, medication and other treatments. It re-interprets the diverse and confusing details contained in billions of Internet postings.



Once the experts have agreed on the correct treatment, they need to get the medication to the patient quickly and accurately. The Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera has become the first Israeli medical institution to implement an advanced robotic system that automatically dispenses medication to hospital wards. The system prevents errors in the medication distribution process and saves time for the nursing staff. But sometimes technology alone is insufficient. So when Turkish leukaemia patient Mehmet Burhan Gül needed a life-saving bone marrow transplant, he was amazed to find that a 55-year old Israeli woman agreed to donate. “Everybody should learn a lesson from this donation, which was made without any discrimination of religion, language or race,” said Gül, who coincidentally has the same surname as the Turkish President.
As I write this, Israeli flags are fluttering proudly throughout the country, but before I leave to join in the Independence Day celebrations, I highly recommend that you watch this 3-minute video from Israel21c, which sums up the last couple of decades from the modern Jewish State’s 64 years. Yes, it contains more than just Israel’s medical achievements – but they are all life-changing technologies that have been “Made in Israel”.



Finally, let’s look to the future – through our children, and the next generation of potential winners of the Nobel Prize for medicine. From an initial 120,000 candidates, eighteen have just completed the Israel Education Ministry''s unique high school project for "super gifted children". And if anyone should complain that Israel is not inclusive, please note that these children included Arij Hatib, a 15-year old Israeli-Arab girl from the town of Majdal Krum.
Israel – 64 years old, and in the best of health!
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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