Israel Comes to the Rescue in the Philippines
By November 17, just a week after Typhoon Haiyantore through the Philippines – killing nearly 4,000 people and leaving over 600,000 homeless – an IDF rescue and relief team arrived in the country. Following an advance team, they were operational within hours of landing.The Israeli team consists of 125 people, including 25 doctors, 15 nurses, and dozens of medics, lab technicians and support staff – one of whom had gotten married just two days before deployment – who work with precision and efficiency that is literally military. They have been treating some 300 people daily, some from injuries dealt by the typhoon, others from conditions they had suffered beforehand. The staff has also delivered at least a dozen babies, including three premature babies whose mothers all arrived within the same hour. In all, they expect to treat 2000 people during their two week stay. The unit trains once a year for such scenarios and has had extensive experience, dating back to the early 1980s and most recently in Haiti in 2010 in Japan in 2011.
Mitch Ginsburg, The Times of Israel
American Business Thrives in Israel
Amazon announced during a visit to Israel in October ,"We are setting up in Israel to support our cloud activity". Amazon's service and sales center, to open in 2014, will also service the Middle East and Africa. General Motors' Israel R&D facility is working on a self driving, self parking car that decreases the number of auto accidents. Asurion Corporation, a provider of technical support to the wireless phone industry, brought Israeli high-tech startup Soluto for$130 million. (Assaf Glad, Al-Monitor; David Shamah, Times of Israel; Orr Hirschauge, Ha'aretz)
TRANSPLANTS FROM PIGS MAY HELP DIABETICS
An Israeli study funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation clears a major barrier to enabling safe transplants between species.
By Abigail Klein Leichman July 30, 2013,
Insulin is made in the islet cells of the pancreas (highlighted). Alpha-1, a natural blood protein that fights inflammation, protects transplanted animal pancreatic islets – where insulin is produced – from rejection by the human body when used in combination with another anti-rejection therapy, according to an Israeli study financed by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
This discovery, reported in the journal PLoS ONE in May, could open the door to successful islet transplants from mammals, such as pigs, for Type 1 diabetes patientsType 1 diabetes affects an estimated three million people in the United States alone. The disease results from a problem with the production or distribution of the hormone insulin, which carries glucose to the body’s cells for energy. Insulin is made in the islet cells of the pancreas, and transplants of healthy human islets have successfully allowed recipients to stop using injected insulin on a daily basis.
However, because there aren’t nearly enough human donors, regulatory agencies including the US Food and Drug Administration have approved clinical trials using islets from pigs. Here, the problem is not availability but the human body’s aggressive immune response against tissue from another species.
This is why the study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev scientists Eli C. Lewis, Efrat Ashkenazi, Boris M. Baranovski and Galit Shahaf is so significant.
Combination therapy is the charm
Lewis and his team at the Clinical Islet Laboratory in the department of clinical biochemistry and pharmacology already showed that alpha-1 protects human islet grafts from rejection by the recipient’s body. Next, they tested its effectiveness in protecting against rejection of non-human transplants. But their attempts failed, even when they tried increasing the dosage of alpha-1.
Not willing to give up, the Israeli team studied microscopic changes inside graft samples and determined that alpha-1 might simply need help in order to overcome the strong immune response to inter-species grafts. This approach is called combination therapy.
The scientists decided to try an existing technique, temporary T-cell depletion, which commonly is used just prior to organ transplantation. BGU’s team found that, on its own, temporary T-cell depletion only delays graft rejection. When temporary T-cell depletion therapy was combined with alpha-1 in an experiment on lab mice, islet grafts from a different species were indeed accepted.
“This approach may be applicable in the near future for the purpose of pig-to-human islet transplantation, a procedure currently examined in several clinical trials around the world,” said Lewis.
A NEW INHALER FOR ASTHMATIC CHILDREN
Inspiro Medicalâ€™s Inspiromatic, invented by the father of a child with asthma, passed a critical clinical study and now seeks partners for development.
A smart dry-powder inhaler for children, developed by Israeli mechanical engineer Nimrod Kaufmann with Dr. Guy Steuer, senior pulmonologist at Schneider Childrenâ€™s Medical Center in Petah Tikvah, just completed a successful clinical trial at Schneider.
The Inspiromatic device.
Inspiromatic is produced by Inspiro Medical, a portfolio company of The Trendlines Group, and is meant to take the place of hard-to-use nebulizers for young children as well as the elderly and people with certain disabilities.
Kaufmann, who came from a background in medical devices research and development, knew that dry-powder inhalers do a better, faster job with less risk of error and contamination, but kids in particular canâ€™t use them properly.
Inspiromatic has an internal microcontroller and flow sensor that detects the right time to deliver the medication and automatically disperse the drug particles in the right size without need for forceful inhalation.
The randomized, crossover, double-blind study aimed to objectively assess the efficacy and safety of Inspiromatic in delivering bronchodilator meds to 30 children with asthma, aged 8-18, compared to a competitive inhaler already on the market.
According to a company statement, the results demonstrated superior results for the Inspiromatic, even in patients with poor inhalation technique, and it was highly rated by patients for ease of use.
â€œThis successful study will enable us to move to the next step in the company development and partner with pharmaceutical companies to develop drug-device combinations and also bring better therapy to patients with poor inhalation technique,â€ said Kaufmann.
By: Abigail Klein Leichman 6-10-13
YOSSIE'S CORKBOARD TO REGULARLY POST ON WINE BLOG
Yossie Horwitz created and writes Yossie's Corkboard
(www.yossiescorkboard.com), a remarkable weekly newsleter on kosher wines. Henceforth, the Wine section of the BIG BLOG will feature information, commentary, and wine recommendations from Yossie's Corkboard. Thank you to Yossie for allowing BIG to take advantage of your truly outstanding knowledge and advice.
VIEW BLOG AND SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS
In many product categories - especially food, wine, cosmetics HBA, and women's apparel - the BLOG feature provides information, product suggestions, and the opportunity for visitors to submit their comments, recommendatons, and suggestions. Tell us which foods, wines and other products you particularly like. Email us at:
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NEW BLOG FEATURE NOW ONLINE
The new BLOG feature now online provides information and news about Israeli products & companies. In any market area, click on BLOG, and then the category of interest. Companies selling Israeli products may submit information and pictures to: email@example.com
USE ISRAELI WINES FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION OR PERSONAL EVENT
Some hotels and caterers tend to resist serving Israeli wine. It is necessary that you insist, follow up, and put it in writing. Be sure it is understood that your instructions apply to both the bars before the event dinner and to table service.