Good News, Israel

Compliments of Anglo Saxon Ra’anana Real Estate

Quote for the Week

    “Medical science has proven time and again that when the resources are provided, great progress in the treatment, cure, and prevention of disease can occur.”

Michael J Fox (a Canadian–American actor, author, comedian and producer, who was diagnosed with Parkinson´s disease and has become an advocate for medical research. [See items below])

· We’re starting this issue of the GN by turning the spotlight on what our scientists have been doing in the past couple of weeks. To be more accurate we’re talking about what they’ve been announcing in the said period because what they do takes infinitely longer than a fortnight. So here goes:

    · It’s the stuff that horror films are made of; monster bacterial mutants that have developed immunity to antibiotics, and are striking down the human race as we know it, in the process. Quel horreur!! These canny bacteria, you see, know how to identify antibiotics via enzymes that they secrete and then, using a chemical change at a suitable site in the drug, they neutralize its activity, no laboratories, no research, not a scientist in sight, they just do it, which is pretty clever for anybody let alone a lowly bacterium. So a group of our Tel Aviv Uni. Scientists come riding to the rescue and having developed chemical and biochemical techniques they’ve blocked the location in the antibiotic that the enzyme changes and which gives them resistance, thus outsmarting the bacteria.

    · Autism and the related Asperger’s syndrome are dreadful conditions which seem to be becoming more prevalent. So the GN is that Israeli Company Brainsway Ltd. has reported that interim results of an Australian study have shown small but significant improvement in patients treated with its Deep TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) device. The study showed improvement in social communications amongst other aspects of the disorders. It was conducted at the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Center in Melbourne. Deep TMS has displayed encouraging results in treating schizophrenia and motor-neuron diseases as well. In the meantime testing in all these areas is ongoing.

    · BC-821 developed by BioCancell, a “guided missile” drug designed to treat brain cancer has proved successful in that there were material delays in the development of Glioblastoma multiforme primary brain cancer tumors in 60% of the rats treated in a laboratory study. BioCancell believes that the results are a positive indication of effectiveness for treating primary brain tumors in people. The battle has been joined against these dread diseases and early signs of victory are there and that’s GN.

    · The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Mazor Robotics Ltd. marketing approval for its Emerald spinal implants. This device is inserted by the company’s robotic SpineAssist system for minimally invasive [and that’s the operative term] spinal surgical procedures. The implants were developed as part of Mazor’s strategy to develop new products for use in conjunction with the SpineAssist system. In preparation for the commercial launch in the US, Mazor plans to test the use of these implants at international opinion-setting surgical centers. Are we approaching the era of bloodless surgery? Could be. So relax grandma, your grandchildren may still be able to become doctors even if they can’t stand the sight of blood.

    · All these amazing achievements take time, brains and money, and probably in that order too, so we’re delighted to report that in the second category an Israeli scientist, Prof Yosef Shilo from TAU’s Sackler Medical School has just won the prestigious Clowes Memorial Award presented by the American Association for Cancer Research. Regarding the reason for the award we can do no better than quote AACR director Margaret Foti, who said, quote: “ [Shiloh’s work has launched a] scientific revolution and opened up new horizons in the understanding of how the living cell copes with DNA damage, which is among the main factors in cancer” unquote. Well, well, it’s the revolution season here in the Middle East [think Tunisia, Egypt etc] but none quite as significant as this one.

    · And if we’re talking money, we can obviously leave it to the ladies. Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America is who we had in mind. Their target for 2010 was $US12.6m, so they raised $20 million instead. What is it all for? The new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower in Jerusalem is what. And what’s more last year’s total brings the amount Hadassah has raised thus far for the tower to $240 million. Upon completion, the Tower will be a state-of-the-art medical facility including research labs. It’s Hadassah’s biggest building project in the past 50 years and one of the largest infrastructure projects currently underway in Israel. What can one add? Determinaion and the ability to get things done seem to be Hadassah’s hallmark.

    · Moving on. Israel features in one of the five films nominated for a documentary film Oscar Award this year. There have been numerous screenings of ‘Strangers No More’ in New York, Los Angeles and Tel Aviv. The school, on Aliya St in the heart of south Tel Aviv that the film is based on, teaches more than 800 children all of them non-Israeli, from 48 countries, each of them with traumatic backgrounds but all brought together through the language of instruction, Hebrew. At every screening, people have commented that what is shown in the film is an Israel that they were unfamiliar with – that the film opened their eyes to something that they had no idea existed. We’re wondering why that is.

    · Israel’s national team beat visiting Dynamo Kiev 3-2 yesterday in a friendly. There were some anxious moments at the start when the home side went one down but a brace from Maor Buzaglio and a goal by Tomer Hemed sealed the visitors’ fate.

    · Software house Amdocs publishes its financial reports a quarter later than everybody else and we don’t know why. But they outdid analyst expectations just as they usually do, and recorded revenues of $775 million in Q4, about $5 million more than the mavens were predicting. The company’s order backlog grew by $35 million to $2.56 billion and that really is a lot of money. All in all a good year for one of Israel’s largest companies.

    · And while we’re talking success stories, Tourism 2010 must rank somewhere near the top of the list; record numbers of incoming visitors; most ever hotel overnights spent, with 2.25 million in the Big Orange alone; favorable reactions to our hospitality and services from the vast majority of these good folk and 12,160,001 [and one?! How intriguing. Did he arrive at exactly midnight on December 31 or perhaps it was she. Do they count animals? We’ll never know and flier no 1216000 and 1 will forever remain anonymous] fliers passed through Ben Gurion Airport on 95,170 flights, about one takeoff or landing every five minutes. Not quite Heathrow, but we’re getting there. 2011 got off to a flying start with Israel’s stand winning first prize for being the most professional, creative and effective stand of the 200 on display at FITUR, the tourism exhibition representing the world’s Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries.

    · It’s always nice to know that Israeli agriculture hasn’t been overtaken by everything else and to prove it, 2011 sees 65, yes 65 new species of peppers in all colors, shapes and sizes. They are of high quality, are immune to viruses and above all they taste good. The pepper species being grown in the Arava are very popular in global markets, and are packed and sent worldwide on a daily basis with not a boycotter in sight.

January 28, 2011 | Comments »

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