Targeting bone marrow to destroy tumors; Israel Innovation Fund beautifies urban centers; jobs during and after IDF service, and much more!
By Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Targeting bone marrow to destroy tumors
Israeli researchers at Tel Aviv University have discovered that breast cancer tumors boost their growth by recruiting stromal cells that originate in bone marrow. Targeting these cells with new therapies could be an effective way of treating the deadly disease.
Stem cell treatment for MS
Israel’s BrainStorm has received FDA approval to use its Nurown stem cells in a Phase 2 trial for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS affects approximately 1 million individuals in the U.S. and 2.5 million individuals worldwide. Nurown is already in a Phase 3 trial for ALS (see here).
Revealing the secrets of multiple myeloma
Scientists from Israel’s Weizmann Institute together with other Israeli blood cancer experts, have captured the specific gene program active in each individual cell. They can now identify pre-cancer cells, for early diagnosis and treatment of the deadly multiple myeloma disease.
New pathway may alleviate anxiety
Anxiety disorders can affect billions of people. Scientists at Israel’s Weiizmann Institute have discovered a new neural mechanism underlying anxiety. It involves protein importin alpha-5, gene MeCP2 and signal molecule S1P. Targeting this biochemical pathway may lead to new therapies.
The Radiology department at Israel’s Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem has been conducting joint research with Philips Medical Systems. It has resulted in a laboratory to study dual energy CT techniques using an experimental IQon Spectral CT scanner that is the first of its kind in the world.
The watch that watches you
I reported previously (Jun 2017) on Israel’s Cardiacsense and its watch that watches over your heart. Its sensors monitor heart activity and blood pressure. For those at risk of stroke or cardiac arrest it can detect arrythmia, arterial fibrillation and alert doctors. Watch COO Liat Shemesh on ILTV.
Engineering meets medicine for maximum impact
Engineers, researchers and physicians at Israel’s Technion literally work “hand in glove”. They developed artificial skin so burns victims can feel again. A robotic system to perform brain and spine surgery. Ingestible chemotherapy nano-delivery tubes and more.
New Israeli faculty for Medicinal Chemistry
Thanks to a major donation, Israel’s Weizmann Institute is establishing the Dr. Barry Sherman Institute for Medicinal Chemistry. Scientists will research compounds that can become therapies for autoimmune diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and infectious diseases.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Reaching the remote
Two Israeli charities are changing the lives of two hard-to-reach groups. SAHI (Sayeret Hessed Yihudit – Special Grace Unit) encourages at-risk teens to volunteer to distribute food to the poor. Yad Tamar (Tamar Fund International) helps cancer patients get economic and social entitlements.
http://www.sahi-israel.org/#/home https://vimeo.com/182269764 (terrific video)
On your bike
700 Israeli high schools in 12 cities participate in Rochvim Rachok (riding far) programs. Currently, 160 at-risk teens have changed their ways and joined Rochvim Rachok’s monthly bike trips. They also learn bicycle maintenance at Netanya’s Wingate Institute.
Russian-Israeli meets Yeshiva student who saved his life
When Russian-born Alex contracted leukemia, he contacted Ezer Mizion who found a 10-out-of-10 match on their bone-marrow database. Shlomo (like many Haredi students at Jerusalem’s Meir Yeshiva) had registered his DNA. 9 years later, they met – brothers in arms.
The most diverse sports center
NBA Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo inaugurated Jerusalem’s 9,290 sqm Sylvan Adams sports complex (the largest in the Middle East). It will be the venue for the 30 teams of Jewish, Muslim and Christian 11-to 13-year-olds playing in the Junior NBA Jerusalem International YMCA League.
Festive support for Israeli Christians
As every year, the Jerusalem municipality distributed free Christmas trees to Jerusalem’s Christian residents. Israel’s KKL-JNF distributed trees to residents in Northern Israel. Israel also authorized hundreds of Gaza’s Christians to visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth.
Co-existence project to clean up Judea
Hundreds of journalists and social media personalities attended the recent 3-day Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem. On day 2, 40 of them chose one of four options – a trek to Judea to hear about the project where Jews and Palestinian Arabs pick up trash together to “clean the hate”.
The Israeli ambulance driver
Brigitte Gabriel was born Hanan Qahwaji, to Lebanese Maronite Christian parents. She relates her first encounter with an Israeli – who drove her and her wounded mother to Israel for treatment. I try to avoid politics, so don’t watch beyond 4 minutes if you do too.
10 years of Innovation: Africa
An unmissable video. Over the last 10 years, the Israeli NGO Innovation: Africa has used Israeli technology to pump water and provide electricity to schools and medical centers in African villages. The NGO has saved thousands of lives and benefited over a million Africans in 10 countries.
The 22nd person was alive
IsraAID co-CEO Yotam Polizer describes some of the amazing work of the Israeli NGO. In one example he personally helped rescue the last survivor of the Nepal earthquake. She had been buried for six days and was found only after pulling out 21 bodies. She is now back with her children.
Arab and Muslim skies are opening to Israel
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that Oman’s leader Qaboos bin Said al Said has given El Al permission to fly over Oman’s airspace. He said Israel can also now overfly Egypt, Sudan and Chad and cut flight times to South America by at least 2 hours.
Israeli anti-drone system helps re-open Gatwick
All flights at London’s Gatwick airport were suspended for 3 days at its busiest time due to unauthorized drones. The UK army eventually deployed the Drone Dome defense system that they bought from Israel’s Rafael Systems in August. (Not good news for the BBC though)
https://www.jpost.com/International/Israeli-anti-drone-technology-brings-an-end-to-Gatwick-Airport-chaos-575054 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6519211/The-2-6m-Israeli-Drone-Dome-Army-used-defeat-Gatwick-UAV.html https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-46658868
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
An Israel-Africa Agriculture Innovation Center
A team of leading scientists from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as senior representatives of the Syngenta Foundation visited Israel to agree the goals for a new Israel-Africa Agriculture Innovation Center.
Out of sight!
I reported previously (July 2017) on Israel’s Airobotics when Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority authorized it to fly the first fully-automated commercial drones in Israel. Now, it is the first to receive the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificate of waiver to initiate Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations.
Surveying with multiple drones
Israel’s vHive uses Artificial Intelligence to control fleets of sensor-loaded autonomous drones. vHive provides industries such as civil engineering, construction, telecoms, rail and infrastructure to quickly inspect large sites and projects. http://www.vhive.ai/solution-overview/
Mind the data
Calcalist’s annual Mind the Data conference at the Tel Aviv Convention Center, brought together entrepreneurs and executives from Israeli companies and multinationals. They discussed how big data and artificial intelligence can be used to tackle the challenges faced by industry and society.
Israeli software for Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year”
Time Magazine has partnered with Israeli content creation startup Apester to conduct Time’s annual “Person of the Year” survey. It is the third consecutive year that Time has employed Apester for the survey.
Soybeans resistant to roundworms
Nematode (roundworm) infestation costs US farmers $1.3 billion a year. Israeli biotech Evogene has partnered with Brazilian plant breeder TMG, to develop non-GMO nematode resistant soybeans. Evogene will utilize genome editing technologies on TMG’s commercial soybean lines.
Securing critical industry
Israeli-led cybersecurity specialist CyberX focuses on defending critical national infrastructure including top US, European and Asia-Pacific energy companies. It just joined the GE Digital Alliance – to help grow industry’s digital ecosystem while securing its use of the Internet of Things.
Israel’s largest wind tunnel
The Environmental Wind Tunnel Laboratory at Israel’s Institute for Biological Research spans three floors in Ness Ziona. The tunnel is used for environmental research, (e.g. pollution dispersion) safety and urban planning and as a platform for developing new research fields in Israel and abroad.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Boot camp for entrepreneurs in the South
Nefesh B’Nefesh has launched its inaugural Entrepreneur Boot Camp” to foster growth across Israel’s South. The 6-week program for Olim (immigrant) innovators is in partnership with KKL Israel, JNF – USA, the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration.
Jerusalem is rebuilding
I’ve reported previously (see here) (and here) on some of the huge business construction projects being planned for Jerusalem. This new article contains some more details on both the 300,000 square meters City Entrance project and Mobileye’s new 135,000 square meters campus.
Israel joins international financial task force
Israel has joined the prestigious Financial Action Task Force (FATF) an inter-governmental body committed to fighting the increased global terror financing and money-laundering problem. Israel can now help FATF in its work putting pressure on international sponsors of terror.
El Al launches direct route to Las Vegas
El Al Israel Airlines has announced its sixth direct route to the United States – Las Vegas. The new (initially once-a-week) service will start in June. El Al already flies direct to New York, Boston, Miami, and Los Angeles. A new direct route to San Francisco begins in May.
Four Israeli finalists in UN tourism competition
2771 startups from 132 countries entered the UN’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) competition. The 10 finalists include 4 Israeli startups. They are Pruvo Net, SeeVoov (GoBeenThere), Howazit (see here) and Refundit (see here)..
Skoda unveils new car in Israel
Czech automaker Škoda unveiled its new Škoda Scala compact family car to 300 reporters from 22 countries in Petah Tikva. It is the first time a global automaker has globally debuted a car in Israel. The car features a constant internet connection and a new infotainment system.
WATCH from 23 mins 30:
Securing the car
I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Karanba and its innovative vehicle security. Multinational car parts manufacturer Ficosa is to integrate Karamba’s cyber protection technologies into its telematic control units – mandatory for accident emergency calls in Europe.
Educational games startup exits
I reported previously (Mar 2015) on Israeli computer games startup Codemonkey, that helps children learn how to write computer code by playing and solving puzzles. Codemonkey has just been acquired by China’s giant TAL Education Group for an estimated $20 million.
Medical start-ups compete for $1 million investment
I reported previously (Apr 2017) on Israeli medical incubator Sanara, jointly setup by Israel’s Teva and Philips Healthcare. Sanara has launched a competition where two winning Israeli medical start-ups will each receive a $1 million seed investment, plus office space.
Another take-over for Israeli company
I reported previously (July 2017) that Israeli cybersecurity specialists Checkmarx had bought a UK software company. It has now bought Custodela, an Ontario-based software security company. Israel continues to improve its global position in cybersecurity.
Empowering the commercial property market
I reported previously (Jan 2016) on Israeli start-up Credifi which collects data about commercial property, for fund managers, brokers. lenders etc. to make decisions. Senior MD Jason Rausman explains more about the system and company culture on ILTV.
Disaster response service for Japan
I’ve reported previously (many times)on Israel’s Gilat Satellite Networks. Gilat has just won a multi-million-dollar contract from Japanese government agency LASCOM, for its SkyEdge II-c platform, to maintain government communications to its people in any disaster event.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Beautifying urban centers
I reported previously (see here) on the Israel Innovation Fund (TIIF) and its social and cultural projects. TIIF has launched its first crowdfunding campaign, The Hebrew Wallpaper Project to transform Israel’s urban centers through the stunning street designs of Solomon Souza, and other street artists.
Israeli dresses for Quentin Tarantino’s bride
Director Quentin Tarantino married 35-year-old singer and model Daniella Pick in Los Angeles recently. Daniella chose two gowns (for the ceremony and reception) made by Tel Aviv-based designer Dana Harel, accented with headpieces by Tel Aviv-based designer Keren Wolf.
Pink Floyd in Israel
No, not BDS-supporter Roger Walters – this is the UK cover band Pink Floyd Experience. They earlier cancelled their scheduled Israel tour (due to death threats from BDS supporters) but thanks to Israeli promoter Ziv Rubinstein, they’ve re-instated Beersheba, Tel Aviv and Haifa (Jan 4-6) concerts.
Excavating for a (King Solomon’s) mine
During Hanukkah, the Israeli public were invited to join an excavation in Timna Park in the southern Arava. Families sifted through excavated material to find copper slag, painted pottery, beads, animal bones and an amulet. https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Timna-Park-opens-doors-for-to-public-excavations-during-Hanukkah-573420
THE JEWISH STATE
Jobs during and after IDF service
Israeli charity Ta’suChayil (Tasohil) provides an employment-based program for impoverished IDF soldiers. It finds paid jobs that they can do during IDF vacations. After being discharged, ongoing counseling and mentoring helps them to remap their future and enjoy professional growth.
The play that helped create Israel
Saul Singer, co-author of the amazing book “Startup Nation”, has just written this article about the 1946 Broadway play “A Flag is Born” starring Marlon Brando. It galvanized American support for the Jewish State. http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/features-on-jewish-world/marlon-brando-and-the-play-that-helped-create-israel/2018/12/05/
Archaeologists discover remains of Sodom
Archaeologists excavating Tall el-Hammam (now in Jordan) say it was the Biblical city of Sodom, destroyed some 3,700 years ago. Its 100-foot-thick, 50-feet-high walls were shattered by an immensely strong directional shock wave from a mid-air explosion followed by intense fires.
Wick from a 1500-year-old candle
New research by the Israel Antiquities Authority has identified a unique linen (from flax) wick, of the type used for Sabbath lamps in Mishnaic times, 1,500 years ago. It was originally found in excavations conducted in the 1930s by the American Colt expedition to the Negev site of Shivta.
From Hanukkah to Diversity and more
As memories of Hanukkah flicker away, here are 24 photos of in Jerusalem to dispel the darkness of winter. Then Jerusalem streets see Christmas decorations, a band for special needs, Art of Jazz, Crossroads/Janglo night run, ArtBnB, Hullegub (Ethiopian arts) and more.
Saved from the storm
Recent heavy rains may be good news to Israel’s farmers and water company but to one female turtle it was nearly fatal. Washed up and nearly dead on Ashkelon beach, she was rescued by Eddy Israel, an alert citizen who called the Nature and Parks Authority. Israelis leave no stone (or turtle) unturned.
A first for my newsletter – a joke about the Jewish State. And it’s so true!
Click HERE for last week’s Good News from Israel archive.