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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘medical’

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.”

IDF Soldier is Missing, Police Seek Assistance

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

IDF soldier David Menachem Gordon, 21, has been reported missing by Israel Police. Gordon is a lone soldier with the Givati Brigades whose family is in the United States. The public is being asked to help find him.

The soldier, who recently served in Gaza, was last seen Sunday at around 12 noon at the Tzrifin Army Base in the medical corps section.

He is about 5 feet, 6 inches tall, with brown eyes and black, short cropped hair, and speaks Hebrew with an American accent.

He was wearing an IDF uniform with a purple beret, and was carrying a Micro Tavor assault rifle and a large, black and blue backpack.

Anyone with information about Gordon’s whereabouts is asked to please contact the Israel Police emergency hotline by dialing “100″, or to call 08-927-9244.

Turkey Brings Wounded Gazans to Ankara Hospitals

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Turkey is evacuating wounded Gazans to hospitals in Ankara, in cooperation with Israel and Egypt.

The first four patients, three women and a boy, arrived at Ankara airport Monday morning.

A Turkish air ambulance departed for Israel late Sunday night to pick up the four patients, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

President-elect, Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the announcement following his electoral victory acknowledgment.

Permission to use Israeli and Egyptian air space for the venture was requested last week by Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, according to numerous international media.

Ultimately, “in the first stage we plan to bring to Turkey, and treat, maybe 200 patients,” Davutoglu said Monday morning while greeting the first batch of wounded at Ankara airport, according to the International Business Times.

However, Israeli government spokesperson Mark Regev categorically denied any knowledge of the operation or Israel having given permission for use of its air space. “I’ve heard nothing about it,” he told TheJewishPress.com.

New Jewish Ambulance in Brooklyn ‘For Women Only’

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Sometimes, a woman just feels more comfortable if she is surrounded by women at certain vulnerable times. Even if her husband is with her.

Now for the first time ever, a new emergency medical service for women only, by women only, has begun ambulance service in the Boro Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

The neighborhood is home to a high concentration of Chassidic Jewish families, where most women do not feel comfortable being treated by men in the ambulances, even Jewish ones.

And up to now, the Jewish Hatzoloh emergency medical service has refused to allow women to serve on its crews, even under really awkward circumstances when pregnant women are in labor or actually about to give birth. Many women have complained about that situation for years. Qualified Jewish religious female emergency medical technicians (EMTs) have offered to work on Hatzoloh ambulances as well, but all have been turned away.

Finally, someone has done something about it.

“It was a real challenge to establish this organization, said founder Rachel Freier. “But all the volunteers underwent extensive training and we are on our way. The women are being treated by women, so they feel more comfortable.”

So far, the organization is operating with 40 volunteers who are fully trained. Due to lack of financial resources, however, the group does not yet have its own ambulance, so they have reached an agreement with a private ambulance company.

Israeli Treatment for Gaucher Disease Approved in Canada

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Canada has approved Elelyso, a new Israeli treatment for Type 1 Gaucher disease. The medication received kosher certification from the Orthodox Union, according to Pfizer, which distributes the drug in the United States.

Gaucher disease is an inherited disease in which the body does not store lipids correctly. This results in a buildup of the fatty substances in cells, certain organs and sometimes in the bone tissue, causing damage to organs such as the spleen, liver and brain.

Elelyso (taliglucerase alfa) is a long-term enzyme replacement therapy produced by Protalix Biotherapeutics Inc., which treats the disease in both adults and children.”

Elelyso was approved by the U.S. FDA on May 1, 2012 and received marketing authorization from the Israeli Ministry of Health on September 12, 2012. It is also approved in a number of other countries, including Brazil and Uruguay.

“With the Canadian approval of Elelyso, the drug is now approved for patients in more than ten countries across the globe,” said Protalix SVP product development Dr. Einat Brill Almon.

“This validates the ability and safety of ProCellEx, our manufacturing platform technology, which we are currently using to develop additional enzyme replacement therapies.”

In Israel, A Prosthetic Tailored for a Turtle

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The Israeli mind just cannot tolerate an unsolved medical problem, even in a turtle.

For an injured green sea turtle named “Hofesh” (the word in Hebrew means “freedom”) that nature resulted in a new lease on life.

Hofesh was snarled up in a fishing net off Israel’s Mediterranean coast early in 2009, his two left flippers completely mangled.

The nearly-dead turtle was brought to Israel’s Sea Turtle Rescue Center, where it became clear amputation was the only option.

The poor turtle was left with two stumps; attempts to fit clumsy divers’ flippers did him little good as he tried to swim.

Enter Shlomi Gez, an industrial design student at Hadassah College in Jerusalem, who read about ‘Hofesh’ one day on the Internet.

The challenge of helping the turtle intrigued him, and the tragedy bothered him – as it had the staff at the rescue center.

It didn’t work.

Gez first tried a prosthetic dorsal fin – but that didn’t work either, because it impeded the turtle’s ability to rise to the surface to breathe.

Unperturbed, the scientist tried again, this time with a dual fin prosthetic. Gez told SciTech Today it is based on the design of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-22 Raptor warplane.

The prosthetic resembles the aircraft’s wings, he said. “It worked better than one fin on the back. With two fins he keeps relatively balanced, even above the water.”

Last Thursday, ‘Hofesh’ tried out his new prosthetic and was free for the first time since being trapped in the net, swimming easily around in his tank at the Rescue Center.

Yaniv Levy, director of the Center, told the journal, “We have great plans for this guy.”

‘Hofesh’ is too badly injured to ever be able to be returned to the wild — but he shares his tank with a blind female turtle named ‘Tsurit.’ Researchers are hoping a romance will blossom, and if the two mate, they will add to the local population of the endangered green sea turtles.

Both turtles are still young – researchers estimate they are about 20 to 25 years old – and approaching the age to mate. Their offspring can be released back to the sea as soon as they hatch, although the parents will never return.

Helping Sick Israeli Children Produces Miracles and a Fund to Help More

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

A decision to help sick Israeli children in need led to miracles for Yael and Albert Shaltiel — and a special fund to help even more.

When the Shaltiels could no longer handle their struggle with infertility, they spent a long time talking about whether or not to adopt.

Former Los Angeles resident Yael actually was also born in Iran. She grew up without a father, and says she knows how difficult it can be for a single parent to juggle the dual roles of providing and caring for a family with a sick child.

Albert had his own struggles — he miraculously managed to escape from Iran via Pakistan at age of 17, but not until he first went through an  unsuccessful attempt in which he was caught by the Islamic Iranian military and dragged to Tehran.

Instead, the couple decided the “needs of the many” outweighed the desire for a few – and started to raise money for medical equipment and therapy for sick children in need.

‘What goes around, comes around,’ as the saying goes, and their good deed did not go unnoticed in the heavens above; without any further intervention, a healthy son, Ilai, was born soon after. Nine years later, a second child followed.

In gratitude, the couple, who live in Modi’in, created The Ilai Fund to help single parent families who require medical assistance for their children. Both Yael and Albert still have family members living in the United States, and in Iran. They know what it’s like to need support.

They also have close Iranian friends who have become major supporters of the Ilai Fund. Ben Nehmadi himself escaped from Iran just days before the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Together with his wife Bita, Nehmadi has supported the Shaltiels in their efforts since 2005.

Founder of the New York-based Republic Investment Company, Nehmadi was struck by the similarity of his own story to that of his friend Shaltiel. He and his wife check in on the project’s activities when the family arrives in Israel for annual visits.

The Fund provides  children with items such as wheelchairs, Hart walker, bath lifts, orthopedic shoes, splints and braces, special nutrition, diapers, eyeglasses, specialized computers, finances for transportation to and from hospitals and vitamins or medication that are not included in their healthcare program.

Also provided are services such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy visits, as well as psychotherapy. In addition, the fund provides one-on-one care givers and teachers, and organizes field trip days for the children, among other activities, according to the organization’s website.

“I reconnected with Albert eight years ago and heard about his work with sick children in Israel,” Nehmadi said. “Albert and Yael are people who are doing God’s work, but quietly and humbly.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/helping-sick-israeli-children-produces-miracles-and-a-fund-to-help-more/2014/04/30/

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