ISRAEL – HOME OF SCIENTIFIC INNOVATIONS

medical innovationsIn this essay,  I will abstain from the customary political indignation in view of the latest biased Jew bashing and anti-Semitism analogous to that of the medieval and World War II events, and focus instead on the steady medical breakthroughs emanating from Israel, the home of innovation.

Although at some point, the use of gene therapy seemed to fade the radar when researchers realized just how great a distance stretched from the concept of using genes for therapy to translating that concept into clinical practice, lately, despite significant hurdles, gene therapy remains alive and steadily under very active investigation, especially by a distinguished team of investigators in Israel. This community of scientists, albeit underfunded when compared to other scientists in the U.S. and Europe, has managed to be a major driver of productivity and innovation.

One such discovery involves the use of a molecule to regenerate dying cells. What does this mean in lay terms? This outstanding clinical application gives the potential to reverse what is now irreversible, liver and kidney failure. In addition, this extraordinary molecule is being tested with great success in animal models to reverse the side-effect known as “dry mouth syndrome” or non functioning salivary glands experienced by patients suffering from cancers of the head and neck undergoing radiation. This medical breakthrough can be interpreted as sparing such patients from severe and ongoing suffering while allowing higher doses of radiation to increase their chances of cure.

Another medical innovation emanating from Israel, while having no impact on patient survival, contributes massively to cancer patients’ moral and psychological well being. The Israeli investigators discovered that this same molecule prevented animal models from losing their hair or fur when undergoing irradiation. They found that a protein plays a central role in hair loss.  They applied an antibody to this protein and administered it prior to radiotherapy in animal models. These animals kept their hair throughout radiotherapy. Clinical trials are underway and Israeli scientists are looking into the prevention of hair loss from chemotherapy as well as radiotherapy in patients undergoing cancer treatments, a leading cause of psychological distress.

Many more medical innovations emanating from Israel are in progress such as the use of gene therapy based on RNA interference (RNAi) referred to in a previous essay for curing cancer without the customary invasive use of chemotherapy and radiation,  and I intend to keep you posted on this major innovation in future essays. It is a shame that the world which will ultimately benefit from these medical innovations originating from Israel, are instead making the lives of Israelis insufferable through unjustified bias and even medieval anti-Semitic accusations.  Could one imagine what additional stellar contributions might be made if Israel in particular and Jews in general were not the victims of unjustified accusations and harassment by the world community, especially when Israel stands among the giants in new technologies and medical discoveries that enhance our everyday lives?

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