Scientist at the Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa has developed a new diagnostic technology that helps tailor cancer treatment to the individual patient, before the treatment begins.
The findings of the study, led by Assistant Professor Avi Schroeder of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and the school’s Integrated Cancer Center, were published this past week in the journal, Nature Communications.
Assisted by doctoral student Zvi Ya’ari and other researchers, Prof. Schroeder and the team packed tiny amounts of anti-cancer medications inside dedicated nanoparticles which they developed.
The uniquely-designed nano-scale anti-cancer packages are able to travel through a person’s veins straight to a malignant tumor and then be swallowed by a tumor. Synthetic DNA sequences which are attached to anti-cancer drugs serve as “barcode readers” for the activity of each drug within the cancer cell.
After 48 hours, a biopsy of the tumor is extracted, and the “barcode analysis” then provides accurate information about which cells were, and were not, destroyed by each drug.
The study was based on experiments in mice affected with triple negative breast cancer. The researchers also used placebo packages that did not contain anti-cancer drugs as well. The researchers found that biopsies with anti-cancer drugs contained mostly dead cancer cells — the anti-cancer nanopackages had killed them — and the placebo nanopackages in the biopsies were found in live tumor cells. A comparison was also carried out between the various anti-cancer medications to determine the effectiveness of each.
“This technology provides a new window into fundamental insights about the mechanisms of cancer and resistance to various drugs,” Prof. Schroeder told the American Technion Society, “but my thoughts are also practical: how our research could help people.
“I am thrilled by the current success. It will take a lot more work to turn our development into a product that is available to the public, but I believe we’ll see it at the clinic within a few years.”
The Arab daily Al Quds last week published an extensive report on the scope of youth emigration from Judea and Samaria, suggesting that as many as 400 thousand young Arabs have emigrated abroad over the past few decades. The report describes entire villages, such as the majority Christian village of Dir Dabuan, which are full of deserted mansions, with a smattering of elderly residents still living in the area.
A resident of Ramun village said that, out of his 44 classmates in the local school, 40 are living in the US, and the rest are inundated with offers to emigrate, because life in the US is much more comfortable for Arabs than life in Judea and Samaria. Apparently, an office in Ramallah coordinates Arab immigration applications and interviews at the American consulate in eastern Jerusalem. According to Al Quds, a survey of Gaza Strip residents found that 45% would like to emigrate if they could.
Demographer Jacob Feitelson said earlier this year that the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, as well as the US census, hide or modify the data regarding the high emigration figures of Judea and Samaria Arabs, which he claims reach 10,000 a year. He says the PCBS keeps Arabs listed as living in the PA for seven years after they emigrate.
A 2006 study titled “The Million Person Gap: A Critical Look at Palestinian Demography,” by Bennett Zimmerman, Roberta Seid and Michael L. Wise, suggested that population statistics and predictions of the PCBS are unreliable. A Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) study that subjects Palestinian demography to rigorous analysis shows that the 2004 Palestinian population of Judea, Samaria and Gaza stood at 2.5 million; not the 3.8 million claimed by the Palestinians. The 1997 PCBS population survey — which has been widely used as the basis for subsequent studies — inflated numbers by including more than 300 thousand Palestinians living abroad and double-counting more than 200 thousand Jerusalem Arabs included in Israel’s population survey. Later PCBS broadcasts echoed the forecasts of the 1997 study, reporting unrealized birth forecasts, including assumptions of a mass Palestinian return that never happened, and disregarding significant Palestinian emigration from the territories to Israel and neighboring Arab countries. The resulting PCBS report for 2004 inflated the size of the Arab population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza by more than 50%. The BESA study and further demographic research indicate that Israeli concerns about demographic pressure from Judea, Samaria and Gaza have been exaggerated.
It should be noted, in this context, that Louie Shabanah, a former Head of the PCBS, stated during a June 8, 2005 debate at Haifa’s Technion, trying to explain the inconsistencies between the figures offered by the PCBS and other Palestinian departments: “The Palestinian Health Department accounts for fewer births because – unlike the PCBS – it excludes overseas births….”
According to former ambassador Yoram Ettinger, the misuse of statistics by the Palestinian Authority has afflicted Israel and its supporters with an unwarranted mix of pessimism and fatalism. The aim has been to cajole Israeli policy-makers into a false assumption that conceding the Jewish geography of Judea and Samaria is a prerequisite to securing Jewish demography.
Ettinger insists that “in spite of Palestinian statistics, and the display of gross negligence by the international establishment — which accepts the PCBS and all other central bureaus of statistics at face-value without proper auditing – in July, 2016, there is a solid, long-term, 66% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel, benefiting from an unprecedented robust tailwind of Jewish fertility and migration. Moreover, in July, 2016, there is a gap of 1.15 million people between the PCBS contended number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria (2.9 million) and the well-documented number (1.75 million).
On Friday, eBay, which has reported adjusted earnings per share of 47 cents on revenue of $2.1 billion in Q1, announced the completion of its acquisition of Israeli startup SalesPredict, which leverages advanced analytics to predict customer buying behavior and sales conversion. SalesPredict will support eBay’s artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science efforts, and their deep expertise will contribute to eBay’s structured data efforts.
Upon the close of the transaction, a number of SalesPredict’s employees will join eBay’s structured data organization, working from eBay’s Israeli Development Center in Netanya. SalesPredict Co-Founder and CEO Yaron Zakai-Or will serve as a Director of Product Management, Technology, and SalesPredict Co-Founder and CTO Kira Radinsky will be Director of Data Science & Chief Scientist, eBay Israel.
SalesPredict was co-founded in 2012 by Zakai-Or and Radinsky and its main investors include Yandex, AfterDox, Redline Capital, KGC Capital, and Pitango Venture Capital.
Dr. Kira Radinsky, who immigrated to Israel from Russia at age 4, says her passion “has always been, and always will be, predictions.” During her PhD studies and her work in Microsoft Research she was leading research in the field of Web Dynamics and Temporal Information Retrieval. She developed algorithms that “leverage web knowledge and dynamics to predict future events, that enable early warning of globally impactful events (e.g. riots or diseases) by spotting clues in past and present news reports.”
One of the best examples of Radinsky’s ability to predict future events was her warnings about violent riots in the Sudan during the Arab Spring. “We noticed a pattern that repeats in countries where the people are poor but the land is rich in resources—like the Sudan,” Radinsky told The Marker last week. “We noted that in such countries the canceling of state subsidies starts riots among students, and if the spiraling down isn’t stopped, things may end up in violent clashes.”
“At that time, when it was known that gas subsidies were being removed in the Sudan, our system had already issued an alert for a high chance of riots there. And, indeed, the riots began with student demonstrations, and turned into clashes with police and many protesters being hurt,” Radinsky continued. She said their system had also pointed to a similar pattern in Egypt, when bread subsidies were removed, but at the time there wasn’t enough data for the system to work with and it didn’t predict the downfall of President Mubarak.
“We lead the predictive marketing industry and strive to build the next generation business operating system,” Radinsky wrote on her Technion web page. “I am passionate about our vision of ‘Automatic Data Science’: an on-going effort to create a product that is completely automated without the need for an expert in the loop.”
“Today’s agreement to acquire SalesPredict builds upon our recently completed acquisition of Expertmaker, marking another milestone for eBay in our plans to apply world class learning approaches to building the world’s most comprehensive product catalog and pricing guide,” said Amit Menipaz, Vice President and General Manager of Structured Data at eBay. “SalesPredict’s deep expertise in predictive analytics and machine learning will contribute to eBay’s structured data efforts. For our buyers, it will help us better understand the price differentiating attributes of our products, and, for our sellers, it will help us build out the predictive models that can define the probability of selling a given product, at a given price over time.
There are three key efforts that comprise eBay’s structured data initiative: collect the data; process and enrich the data; and create product experiences. SalesPredict will contribute to data processing and enrichment, specifically with respect to inventory insights.
“With more than 900 million listings on eBay, there is an enormous opportunity to extend our experience in machine learning and predictive analytics to help eBay identify important product attributes that can affect the price of a product,” said Yaron Zakai-Or. “In partnership with eBay’s broader structured data team, we will help arm eBay sellers with more information about the value of items, ultimately helping to increase customer sales conversions.”
“As a data scientist at heart, I’ve always been interested in exploring the myriad ways we can leverage data to predict future high impact events,” said Kira Radinsky. “In founding SalesPredict, our vision was to bring about a major change in how business is conducted by unifying micro- and macro-economic predictions. Today, this vision has yielded state-of-the-art automated data science capabilities. I am excited to have the opportunity to bring these capabilities to eBay’s community and ecosystem.”
The name of 19-year-old Mohammed Zeidan, of Kafr Manda in the Lower Galilee, rose to the headlines this month, after the news site Al-Monitor reported that he is Israel’s smartest student for the 2015-2016 school year.
Zeidan, according to reports, is the only student in this academic year to score a perfect 800 on the Psychometric Entrance Test — Israel’s college entrance exam and SAT equivalent.
Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi and Education Minister Naftali Bennett both congratulated Zeidan, the son of a gynecologist father and teacher mother, on his achievements through social media site Twitter.
“When Knesset member Ahmed Tibi called to congratulate me, he said that the test was culture-dependent. In other words, it has to do with the culture you come from. But I hated to tell him that it has nothing to do with it. It doesn’t reflect intelligence, either. It only reflects the time you put into it. The harder you work, the more you’ll succeed,” Zeidan told the Al-Monitor reporter.
According to the article, Zeidan is headed to study electrical engineering at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. His sister is a medical student there.
Asked what he can contribute to Israeli society, Zeidan said: “I can contribute to my country and to my village. I have no issues with the State of Israel. I feel that it’s my country. If, for example, the State of Israel did not exist and there werean Arab state in its stead, it wouldn’t feel the same. It wouldn’t be the same state and we — Arabs — wouldn’t be in the same situation. It could have been much worse, but let’s not go too much into that. You know what I’m getting at.”
In the interview, Zeidan talks about how people have told him he will never integrate into Israeli society but that he hasn’t encountered racist remarks in his brief interactions with Jewish peers.
“I was training for two months with some Jewish youths in Misgav Am [a kibbutz in northern Israel].The coach was also Jewish. They were wonderful people. I never ran into any extremists and they were even happy when I joined them. But that was thefirst time that I actually interacted with Jewish Israeli youth.”
Zeidan said it was “a shame you don’t get to meet Israeli Jewish people until you turn 18. That’s really bad. Jews and Arabs don’t mix, and that’s bad. Hopefully that will change in 10 years.”
Asked where he will be in 10 years, Zeidan said the future looked promising. “After scoring 800, I’ve recalculated. This is a very good opportunity that comes once in a lifetime,” he told Al-Monitor.
In the closely contested High School category, first place went to the team from Abraham Joshua Heschel High School, in New York City. The judges cited their use of successful energy transfer elements and high creativity level as main reasons for their selection. Second place went to The Weber School in Atlanta, whose entry showed a true understanding for the mechanics involved to create a visually stunning display.
There was a tie for first place in the Middle School category. The entry from the 7th grade team from Bialik College, in Melbourne, Australia, was well-thought out, with many different types of energy transfers – some of which were very unusual for Rube Goldberg machines. The submission of the 6th grade team from Scheck Hillel Community School (North Miami Beach, Florida) was lauded for its creativity, and for energy transfer aspects that were executed properly and efficiently.
Rabbi Dr. Elad Dukov of the Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa was arrested Monday afternoon, according to the Tazpit Press Service (TPS).
Dukov was taken into custody by Israeli security forces at the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, leaving five children stranded by themselves on the site, TPS reported.
The circumstances behind the rabbi’s arrest are not clear.
Last week, Rabbi Yehuda Glick of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation and Rabbi Yisrael Ariel of The Temple Institute were both arrested while visiting the site.
Thirteen visitors were detained Sunday while visiting the ancient site where both Jewish Holy Temples of Jerusalem once stood, 12 of them Jews. The Temple Mount is the holiest site on earth in Judaism, and the third holiest site in Islam.