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November 24, 2014 / 2 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

New Cancer Drug Uses Immunotherapy to Treat Metastatic Melanoma

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Researchers have come up with a new treatment to fight metastatic melanoma – a fierce form of cancer that is particularly difficult to overcome. The new medication, called Keytruda, works on the body’s immune system and just received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Keytruda, produced by the Merck pharmaceutical firm in the United States, does not focus on destroying the cancerous tissue with chemicals, but rather initiates a different process in the body’s natural immune system, which then attacks the cancerous cells on its own.

The treatment mechanism is called “immunotherapy” and if it lives up to its expectations, the world of oncology could see a new revolution within just a few years. One of the clinical trials is being carried out at Tel Aviv’s Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer Medical Center.

Some 250 of newly diagnosed melanoma patients in Israel per year suffer from metastatic tumors. Malignant melanomas usually start on the skin but can also start elsewhere. Israel ranks among the 20 nations in the world with the highest morbidity rates for the disease, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

“The new drug creates real potential for curing one of the deadliest forms of cancer at the negligible cost of light and tolerable side effects,” commented Prof. Jacob Schachter, head of the Ella Institute for Melanoma at Sheba Hospital. “Moreover, it completely alters the working assumptions in oncology treatment, as its working mechanism is effective in the war against other types of cancer too. There’s no doubt today that the holy grail of oncology lies in immunotherapy, which helps the body’s immune system to destroy the tumor’s cells itself.

“At this stage, we can only imagine the therapeutic potential of a combination of a number of such drugs, each acting on a different system, and some of which are already at an advanced stage of development. Among doctors, too, the scope of the breakthrough has yet to be digested.”

Cancer-Stricken Boy Acts Out Rescue Operation for Purim (Video)

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Rafael Asulin, 6 1/2 years old, has been fighting cancer since the age of six months.

He has watched his father, who volunteers for the United Hatzalah rescue group, run for three years on a daily basis to save lives.

Rafael has been inspired by his dad and dreams of having his own ambucycle when he grows older, and save lives just like his role model.

For Purim, his father made him a great surprise – a replica of his own ambucycle – complete with all the accessories: an electric motorcycle, United Hatzalah uniform and first aid kit.

Smile and cry.

Drip Drip Drippin’ on Heaven’s Door

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Some songs stick with you for life.

Songs that bring back a flood of memory, emotion and tears from that one time you heard them in a particularly memorable context.

For me, one such song is Ana Bekoach, arranged and sung by Ovadia Hamama.



As Rav Yehuda Amital z”l used to say, “You must sing a nigun again and again, for only then will it drip, drip, drip into your soul.”

***

We were about to begin another sort of drip, drip, drip with our 12-year-old son, Gilad.

In September 2007, just before Sukkot, a CT scan had revealed a golf-ball-size growth pressing on his small intestine. This had completely blocked the passages, causing him to lose about 15 lbs in 12 days and to vomit anything he tried to eat. It actually reached the stage where he was vomiting green bile.

We were worried. To see your little boy suffering and thinning away day by day, to sense the doctors hesitating to commit to any diagnosis and to conjure up horrific scenarios that all begin with c and end in r.

Our tension rose on Shabbat Chol Hamoed, as the team at Hadassah Har HaTzofim removed the growth, cutting away part of Gilad’s intestine in the process and reattaching the two ends (apparently, the Creator gave us some slack on our intestines – we can live just fine with a few centimeters missing).

We had a week or so to wait for the pathology results as Gilad recovered from the operation. The surgeon and other doctors had expressed optimism and we were happy to defer to their expertise. They were wrong.

The Wednesday after Sukkot, October 10, we were summoned to the Pediatric Hema-Oncology Department at Hadassah Ein Karem, where the Head of Department, Dr. Mickey Weintraub, informed us of the pathology results: Stage 3 abdominal Burkitt’s Lymphoma.

Burkitt’s, although a very aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is very curable. However, because it is very aggressive and spreads quickly, the chemo also had to be aggressive and intensive.

We had no time to lose.

First thing next day we were back there for another operation, this time to implant a Hickman Line into Gilad’s chest (a device making it easier to take blood and administer chemotherapy without constantly pricking and poking needles into him), with the first round of chemo to start on Sunday.

It had all happened very quickly, with no time to process the maelstrom of emotions swirling around in my mind. Shock, denial, disbelief, sadness, panic, worry, helplessness, depression, despair, hope, faith, determination, prayer…

Thoughts and nightmares, drip drip drippin’ on Heaven’s door.

I don’t think I ever doubted Gilad would be okay… but of course you can never be sure. Every single miniscule drop of every single chemical, with the exact dosage, has to find its way to exactly the right even-more-miniscule cell at precisely the right time. And all the drips and drops have to work together to kill off any possibility of cancerous cell replication.

However sensitive, skilled and experienced the doctors and nurses may have been, that wasn’t entirely in their hands.

But all that was still ahead of us.

Back to that Thursday night.

After the shock and the running around for bureaucracy’s sake and the operation and the family-and-friends-telling and the phone calls and the emails, I felt a burning need to get away from it all. To slow down. Solitude. Silence.

At onement.

So once we were home – and my wife and kids were all talking in the lounge – I grabbed one of my other kid’s MP3s (a small red one now well out of vogue), opened the back door and, after closing it, went outside to the yard.

Abbas Calls Jewish Towns in Judea and Samaria a ‘Cancer’

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Building Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem is a cancer,” Palestinian Authority  chairman Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday, the day before  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to arrive with another load of diplomatic muscle.

His description upstages the United Nations,which calls 600,000 Jews in Judea, Samaria, and in eastern, southern and northern Jerusalem “illegal,” and Abbas outdoes President Barack Obama, who considers them “illegitimate.”

“We will not remain patient as the settlement cancer spreads, especially in (east) Jerusalem, and we will use our right as a U.N.  observer state by taking political, diplomatic and legal action to stop it,” Abbas said in a speech in Ramallah to mark the 49th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah party.

He also placed a wreath at the grave of Yasser Arafat, Abbas’ predecessor who perpetuated evil by turning terror into criteria for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Abbas pulled no punches in his comments and did his best to show Kerry that he could care less about the Secretary of State’s rules of the game not to threaten to suggest going to the United Nations in an end-run around current nine-month discussion with Israel.

Abbas all of a sudden pulled Gaza into the picture and conveniently omitted recent escalation of terrorist attacks from the Hamas-controlled area.

“We have entered negotiations amid Israeli escalation on all fronts — the Israeli army steps up its hostilities against the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank, leading to the killing of dozens of citizens in the last few months,” he said.

Polish EU Legislator Calls Anti-Semitism a “Cancer’

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

“Anti-Semitism is like cancer. There are two things that are certain about this cancer of hate. We know that it is deadly and we know that if we don’t fight it,  it will spread,’’ Polish Member of the European Parliament Michal Kaminski said in an address to the General Assembly of the European Jewish Parliament Monday in Brussels.

‘’Vigilance is [the] key because like cancer, anti-Semitism often stays hidden for a long time until it strikes suddenly. But although it may hide from us, that does not make it any less dangerous,” he added.

Referring to debates in the European Parliament, Kaminsi said he often hears politicians shouting about “human rights” and “democracy” as they make verbally attacks against Israel. ‘’I believe that at the core of many of these attacks is a contempt for the Jewish people, a contempt for their state, and a contempt for their right to defend themselves.’’

His remarks came in the background of worrying results of a recent survey by the EU’s Agency for fundamental rights that 76% of the 6,000 Jews polled felt that their situation was getting worse and that anti-Semitism had increased over the past five years.

“While the EU is adamant in its claims to protect minorities within the member states, we are still confronting  the virus of anti-Semitism, which we thought was a thing of the past,’’ said Italian MEP Fiorello Provera, Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Iran Unveils Drone that Can Reach Israel – or Is It Photoshop?

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Iran announced on Monday it has manufactured a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can reach Israel and can carry two 330-pound bombs.

That really sounds scary. It conjures up a scene of a drone infiltrating Israel with two small nuclear bombs that can annihilate the country and bring an Islamic peace to the world. The threat, of course, is intended to strike fear into the hearts of Washington and Jerusalem, who now are expected to shiver in their boots and say “yes” to whatever Iran wants.

There is no proof that this new drone does not exist. Nor is there proof that is does exist.

Let’s assume for a minute the “Fotros” drone really does have a range of 620 miles.

Dr. Eldad Pardo, a Hebrew University expert on Iran, told The Jewish Press Monday, “It is one thing to make a drone that can reach Israel, but it is another thing to have the technological capability to do something with it.”

While not pooh-poohing Iran’s technological ability, Dr. Pardo said a drone needs highly sophisticated electronic systems to be able to do any damage.

He noted, “The drone looks very similar to others. We will have to wait for a few days and see if anyone notices something that would indicate it is a ruse.”

Iran bragged that the new drone “is equipped with state-of-the-art light cameras for reconnaissance.”

Its official media stated, “In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and has attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.”

Dr. Pardo pointed out that Iran also is capable of using Photoshop.

Let’s take a look at some of Iran’s amazing achievements, some of which have been announced one after the other in the past three years.

Most of the regime’s announcements came at a convenient time when it was necessary to counter Israeli and Israeli threats.

Last month, Iran unveiled a supposed suicide combat drone. It did not take long for even amateurs to notice that the nose and tail appeared to be held together by duct tape.

Last January, Iran said it sent a monkey into space but provided no details of when and where the launch took place, if it ever did.

“Before” and “after” flight pictures clearly showed different monkeys. Iran’s Propaganda Ministry quickly came up with an explanation. Someone in its media department simply mixed up a picture of a monkey two years, ago.

How’s that for quick thinking?

Two years ago, Iran claimed it launched a rocket with a mouse, a turtle and worms. Nothing has been heard about that achievement since then, but it would be interesting to know how everyone got along during the ride.

Dr. Pardo said that last November, Iran boasted of a UAV that had the capacity to take off vertically, “but they took the picture from a journal,” he told The Jewish Press. The image of the supposed vertical take-off drone the image looks almost identical to a picture of a drone from a university in Japan.

This past February, Iran released photos of a brand-new stealth fighter, a remarkable feat – until it became clear that it  was only three-quarters of the size of a plane. Furthermore, a photo showed the “stealth fighter” flying over a mountain at the same angle of a stock photo.

In 2008, the media arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards released a photo of four missiles being launched. It was an amazing accomplishment. One of the rockets, including its exhaust trail, was exactly like another one of the rockets. If its rocket-producing capability is like its Photoshop capability, Iran really needs a new Propaganda Minister.

In November 2011, Iranian media announced is added two new submarines to its fleet. The following month, the official Fars (or is it Farce?) News Agency reported, “ The Iranian Navy plans to test-fire a mid-range surface-to-air missile,…  the first time that such a missile is launched from navy vessels.”

The same month – it seems the Propaganda Ministry was working overtime – Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi “announced Iran’s high capabilities in building UAVs, and said the country is mass-producing new types of combat drones.” Fars reported. He also said Iran has “already produced several types of combat drones, as well, and we are now mass-producing a number of them.”

Israel Beats Guinness Record for Donating Hair to Cancer Patients

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Israel has broken the Guinness world record for donating the most hair to cancer victims in a single drive, producing 53.1 kilograms (117 pounds) on Monday, Yisrael HaYom reported. The previous Guinness record was 48.7 kilograms (107 pounds).

About 250 women attended the hair drive in Jerusalem organized by the Zichron Menachem Association for the Support of Children with Cancer and their Families, which worked in conjunction with the Pantene hair products company.

Among the donors were three sisters whose father is battling cancer, and a young girl who had recovered from the disease and donated the wig she wore during her illness.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-beats-guinness-record-for-donating-hair-to-cancer-patients/2013/11/12/

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