Good News Israel Archive from the week of February 21, 2016: An “innovative” US immunotherapy that cured 27 of 29 “no-hope” leukemia patients was developed by Weizmann Institute Professor Zelig Eshhar; Israel is teaching water conservation in California, and much more.
By: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Breakthrough leukemia cure is “Israeli”
I was suspicious of the BBC’s report on the “innovative” US immunotherapy that cured 27 of 29 “no-hope” leukemia patients. Sure enough, the genetic modification of T-cells was developed by Weizmann Institute Professor Zelig Eshhar, and the US researchers accredited him.
Positive trials for treatment of Graft vs Host disease
Israel’s Kamada has reported positive interim results from a Phase 1/2 clinical trial of its proprietary alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) to treat steroid-refractory Graft Versus Host Disease (GvHD). Subjects responded well to treatment in the small study.
Patent for kidney cancer test
Israeli biotech Rosetta Genomics has been granted a US patent for its gene signature method of distinguishing four different types of kidney cancer. The molecular diagnostic test recognizes the profile of 29 microRNAs that are expressed in patients with renal cancer.
Watching memory at work
Tel Aviv University Professor Itzhak Fried has completed his study of how memory neurons behave in real time when they are “remembering.” He will present his findings at an upcoming Jerusalem symposium. These have important implications for understanding dementia such as Alzheimer’s.
ReWalk is medically necessary
A US surgeon, confined to a wheelchair following a spinal cord injury, has successfully won his case to be reimbursed by his health plan for a ReWalk exoskeleton. The ruling will help make ReWalk available to all eligible patients.
Hospital search engine wows Russia
Russia’s most dominant email service Mail.Ru is integrating the database of Archimedicx. Health Mail.Ru is one of the most popular health portals in Russia. Israeli Moni Milchman developed ArchimedicX, the world’s first search engine for information about hospitals.
Israel-California biotech agreement
Israeli Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis signed a biotechnology agreement with the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Its focus is stem cell research and breakthroughs in treating diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and HIV-AIDS.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
How to avoid employee burn-out
The Wisdom 2.0 Conference in Tel Aviv gave employees ideas for protection against the onslaught of technology forcing people to be connected to work 24/7. The organization’s first Israel conference had speakers from Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Israel’s Glide and ex-Israeli MadMimi.
The first Arab-Israeli startup school
The first school for Arab high-tech entrepreneurs in Israel is set to open on Feb 23 in Kafr Qasim, an Arab city northeast of Tel Aviv. Sponsors of the project include Tsofen, an Arab-Jewish organization that aims to help integrate Arab Israelis in the high-tech industry.
Odisha, India seeks Israeli investment
A large business delegation led by the Minister of Industries Indian state’s Debi Prasad Mishra reached out to leading Israeli businesses seeking collaboration in areas of joint interest during the three-day visit to the country.
Teaching water conservation in California
The rainwater catchment systems from Israel’s Rain Harvest serve over 140 schools in Israel. Now students at three California elementary schools will use Rain Harvest’s barrels to recycle rainwater.
Another Israeli aid organization
Natan-International Humanitarian Aid (NIHA) is a network of Israeli disaster relief organizations and civil society organizations, working to alleviate humanitarian crises and disasters. In 12 years it was active in Sri Lanka, Georgia, Haiti, the Philippines, Nepal and now Serbia.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
More cybersecurity startups
Cybertech 2016 in Tel Aviv proved that Israel is a cyber superpower. Also, more Israeli cybersecurity startups get their first mention in my newsletter. IronScales protects companies from phishing attacks. GreenSQL has rebranded as HexaTier and protects databases in the Cloud.
Israel’s “electric” cyber defense
Israel Electric Company’s Yosi Shneck is senior VP in charge of computer security. The IEC is known the world over for its expertise in foiling catastrophic cyber events. It works on a model called “cyber everywhere” and a team of 100 full and part-time security experts.
US DoD sponsors Israeli security contest
The US Department of Defense is one of the sponsors of Israel’s 2016 Combating Terrorism Through Technology challenge program. Two $100,000 prizes will be awarded for innovative technologies that could help combat terrorism or homeland security.
UK Foreign Office advisor praises Israeli science
It could be the nearest Israel has been to getting praise from the UK Foreign Office. Ahead of a visit by 11 Israeli scientists, UK Foreign Office deputy chief scientific adviser, Emma Hennessey, said Israel was “an important science partner for the UK”.
Astronauts arrive for Israel Space Week
Israel’s Space Week includes lectures and discussions with several astronauts: NASA’s Shannon Walker, Joseph Acaba and former astronaut Garrett Reisman. South Korea’s Yi Soyeon, and European Space Agency’s Samantha Cristoforetti, will join them.
Another Israeli UAV
Here is one of the first glimpses of the Impact unmanned air vehicle (UAV) being developed by Israeli startup Meteor Aerospace.
SolarEdge energy storage goes global
The StorEdge system from Israel’s SolarEdge Technologies is now available in Australia, Europe, South Africa, and the United States. With StorEdge, unused solar energy is stored in a battery and used when needed, and for power backup. SolarEdge also reported the shipment of its 10 millionth power optimizer, of which nearly 5 million were sold in 2015.
The world’s tallest solar tower
Israel-based Megalim Solar Power is building the tallest solar tower in the world at Ashalim, in the Negev desert. 50,000 computer-controlled mirrors will focus solar rays onto the 787-foot tower producing, when the project is complete, 121 megawatts, to cover 1% of Israel’s electricity needs.
Israeli water stations in Ohio
Sinclair Community College in Dayton Ohio is the first site outside of Israel to test the water stations from Israel’s Whoosh (see previous newsletters). Woosh customers can take virtually any bottle or cup of their own and fill it with filtered, chilled tap water. The can also cleanse a drinking bottle.
Israeli startup Subflex builds cages for the planned offshore fish farms near Ashdod. The submersible, flexible net cage systems will allow for the managed raising of fish in the ocean, providing large, locally grown harvests that will help lower the cost of fish.
Backup your data in the Cloud
Israeli startup OwnBackup is the first graduate of this year’s Microsoft Ventures Israel’s Accelerator to receive funding – $3.5 million in fact. OwnBackup provides a data backup and fast recovery service to companies using 3rd party services in the Internet Cloud.
The last smartphone standing
In the Flagship Smartphones Battery Life Challenge in China, the Meizu PRO5 with PowerXtend from Israel’s Lucidlogix was running gaming programs 16 mins after all other screens went dark. It beat the Nexus 6P (3.5hrs), Huawei Mate8 (6.2hrs) and the iPhone6s Plus (6.75hrs).
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Low cost hospital food machines
The price of food in Israeli hospitals will no longer make you sick. Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman has just inaugurated the first set of cheap food vending machines at Ichilov Hospital. You should get soft drinks, water, juice, hot drinks and a variety of snacks for 5nis each.
Israeli AI is “Best in Show”
Israeli startup Capitalise won one of five Best in Show awards at London’s FinovateEurope 2016. The Capitali.se platform uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to read the text of an investor’s investment strategy and convert it into executable market trading instructions.
Testing services for HP customers
Israeli cybersecurity startup NorthBit has struck a deal with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise to develop test automation software for mobile application developers. NorthBit’s 20 researchers are graduates of the top technological units in the Israeli army.
WeWork opens Israeli R&D center
Co-working space WeWork has opened an R&D center. It already has office space in Tel Aviv, Herzliya and Be’er Sheva.
The King is back
After a six-year absence, Burger King has re-opened in Tel Aviv. It sold its franchise to Israel’s Burgeranch in 2010 after Muslim groups boycotted it. Now it plans to open 10 branches in 2016 and fifty in the next five years. In response, Burgeranch is partnering with discount coffee chain Cofix.
Flight training systems for the UK
Israel’s Elbit has won a $713 million deal to supply the UK Ministry of Defense with an 18-year training program for its air crew.
The first joint Israeli-Chinese VC fund
Israel’s Catalyst Private Equity and China Everbright Limited have launched the first dedicated Israel-China private equity fund. The $200 million fund will invest in mid-to-late-stage companies with a special focus on pushing their tech in China and emerging markets.
The largest fund ever raised in Israel
FIMI, the leading private equity firm in Israel, has just completed a $1.1 billion financing round for its sixth fund – the largest fund ever raised in Israel. FIMI’s strategy is to acquire control of Israeli companies with sales of $75 million or more.
Working with Shenzhen Stock Exchange
The chairmen of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. They will share experience in SME and technology financing, cooperate in index-based product development and explore market linkup.
Israel hostels are a bargain
Here are five hostels in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa which are promoted for groups and lone explorers who want the comforts of a good hotel, but without the hefty bill.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Israeli-designed video has 55 million hits
Coldplay’s “Hymn for the weekend”, starring Beyonce, was filmed in Mumbai. The design, animation and additional visual elements were done in Israel by by Yaron Yashinski. http://www.sizedoesntmatter.com/events/coldplay-and-beyonces-new-music-video-made-in-israel/
Opera in Tel Aviv market
The Tel-Aviv market is a place where the sounds a myriad of vendors advertising their products obscures even the loudest noise. But a group of opera singers created an “only-in-Israel” moment to replace the familiar sounds and take over the show.
France’s ‘Singer of the Year’
Israeli-French singer-songwriter Yael Naim is France’s singer of the year. The French-born, Israeli-raised 38-year-old soul singer won Female Artist of the Year at the 2016 Victoires de la Musique (France’s Grammys). Her new album, Older, was also nominated for Album of the Year.
Beyonce wears Israeli dress at Grammy awards
One of this year’s most talked about gowns is an Inbal Dror-designed wedding dress worn by none other than Beyoncé, Queen of Pop. “It was an amazing moment to see one of my favorite stars wearing one of my designs,” Shenkar-trained Dror told BRIDES magazine.
Oscar nominees to get trip to Israel
A free 10-day first-class trip to Israel, valued at $55,000, is the most valuable gift in the Oscar “goody bag” given to nominees for this year’s actor and director Academy Awards.
Faster than Ronaldo
International soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo features in a new commercial for Israeli internet provider HOT – advertising its 200Mb fast Internet service.
THE JEWISH STATE
He helped fly a million Jews to Israel
Read about entrepreneur Aaron Frenkel’s role in flying Jews from the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to Israel. A phone call in 1988 triggered his entry into the aviation industry. Soon between 20,000 to 35,000 Jews per month were being flown to Israel.
Martial arts fighter now fights terror
Israel’s Noy Peles is a skilled former MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) champion. Last March she enlisted in the IDF and chose the Border Police, despite the adverse impact on her martial arts career. She now helps defend Jerusalem against terror attacks.
Largest-ever Conference of Presidents
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations convened its 42nd consecutive annual Leadership Mission to Israel with a delegation of more than 100 leaders from the Conference’s 53 member organizations, the largest group ever.
Air-conditioning saves a life
Moving story of how a teenager’s desire just to get out of the summer heat resulted in him registering on Ezer Mizion’s bone-marrow database and from there to saving a 9-year-old with leukemia.
Angel pays electricity bill for soldier’s family
A soldier on a train pleaded with the Israel Electric Company not to cut off her elderly disabled family. Suddenly a fellow passenger grabbed her phone and paid her overdue 1,950-shekel bill. An eye-witness said the episode filled her with pride to be part of a nation that devotes itself to helping one another in times of need.
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