By Greta Weiner
With the snubs at the Olympics and the BDS movement going on, I wanted to take a moment to remember the great achievements Israel has brought (and is bringing) to the world. In researching for this article, I found so many break throughs, it was hard to narrow it down to just this list of twenty. In cancer research alone, there is a myriad of articles to go through. I tried to give you a variety of strides in research to show how Israeli research and breakthroughs will touch all of our lives.
- Hadassah Medical Center has found a very specific genetic mutation that helps detect colon and uterus cancers quicker.
- Tel Aviv professors have created a new drug platform that delivers cancer fighting drugs faster and with fewer drugs to minimize side effects for the patient.
- Researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev have found a protein that protects your lungs can be used as an anti-inflammatory to help stop the spread of bacteria. This is especially important as more and more bacteria grow resistant to antibiotics. It’s also helpful for those whose immune systems are compromised.
- Nobel Prize winner Professor Aaron Ciechanover has uncovered two proteins that when combined, create cancer cells, but when isolated and applied to cancer cells, they start suppressing additional cancer growth.
- 3G Solar from Israel, has built solar technology so strong it can replace a need for batteries. What that did is improve upon dye cells that use even indoor lighting to power appliances. Think of your calculator and that little window that powers it. Their new power cells give you three times the energy of any other cells that exist out there and can be used in-door.
- Daphne Weihs, from Israel’s Institute of Technology has developed a method that when used after an initial biopsy can show the likelihood of the cancer metastasizing to another organ.
- Professor Lior Gepstein from the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and Research Institute at the Technion has successfully used light-sensitive genes that can be injected into the heart and then activated by flashes of blue light to replace pace makers.
- Professors Abraham Loyter and Assaf Friedler from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, have developed a new method of destroying HIV + cells without hariming surrounding health cells. The method uses peptides that interfer with the DNA and cause the HIV+ cells to self destruct.
- Imagine checking out your groceries before you put them in the cart. SuperSmart, an Israeli tech firm has developed an app that allows you to scan your barcodes with your phone as it tallies up your total. There are scales available to weigh your produce, which then produces a barcode for your phone to scan. Then you use your phone to check out and pay and out the door you go. Currently being tested in Israel, hoping to come to a grocery store near you.
- Ervin Weiss from Israeli biotech start-up called NanoLock has developed technology that stops spread of bacteria when using implants. The implants include components that kill the bacteria. They will be used first for dentistry but expect to also be used in contact lenses, breast implants, stents and more.
- In June of 2015, MS patients could enter a clinical trial that injects their own stem cells into the cerebrospinal fluid to help halt and treat their disease. This provides the opportunity for potential renewal of damaged Myelin, as well as a potential suppressant for the disease.” The Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Hadassah Medical Center is directed by Professor Dimitrios Karussis. The department head of Hadassah’s MS Center is Tamir Ben-Hur.
- Designing, building and ramping up to go from 2013, in 2015 Sorek, in Israel is the largest reverse-osmosis desalinating industrial facility. It produces 627,000 cubic meters of fresh water daily. Proving that seawater desalination can be cost effective.
- Israeli researcher, Dr. Shira Knafo, head of Molecular Cognition Laboratories at BioCruces Health Research Institute was able to inhibit and sometimes reverse the symptoms of the Alzheimer’s disease. The Israeli doctor and her team of researchers did this by studying the plasticity of the brain, fundamental to learning and memory.
- An Israeli clinical trial has seen close to 90% of ALS patients show improvement or slowed progression of the disease. The study’s principal investigator, Dr. Dimitrios Karussis of Hadassah Medical Center, described the results as “very encouraging. You may remember Dr. Dimitrios was also noted above in the MS clinical trial.
- An hour after brain surgery, a Parkinson’s patient can get up and leave the hospital without shaking, thanks to an Israeli firm – InSightec- using ultrasound waves during the surgery. InSightec’s system has performed 500 such treatments around the world – in the US, Switzerland, South Korea, Spain and Italy and Israel.
- This next group of innovations from Israel rely on collaborations with other companies like Google, Volkswagon, Apple and more. There are several Israeli companies that have helped foster the self driving car, ridesharing (think Uber) and the health, security and safety of your car and ridesharing. What does that mean? It means when Google’s self driving car drives down the road, Israeli technology is helping to pilot it. It means you can plug Israeli technology into your car and it will let you know when you need service, oil changes, etc. Want to ensure your safety when ride sharing? Israeli technology will make sure you know who’s coming to pick you. So here is a big HURRAH to the following Israeli technology companies: Moovit, Waze, Juno, Via and Gett are crowdsourcing urban travel; Mobileye, iOnRoad, Nexar, TowerSec and Argus are enhancing safety and security; and Vroom, Beepi, and Engie are building the automotive marketplaces of the future.
- Worried about the Zika virus? Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have devised a vaccine that has shown great progress in protecting animals from the disease with just one injection. They expect it to be a safe vaccine for humans as well.
- The Olympics in Rio isn’t just for summer sports. There is a technology competition there sponsored by Hype Foundation a UK and Israeli based company as well as other sponsors like Google, Microsoft and more. Israeli technology company RideOn, which makes special ski goggles that overlay useful maps and information into the field of vision of the skier, is competing.
- Are you an organ donor? Now a kidney donated to one person can be donated again, to another. Beilinson Hospital’s Department of Organ Transplantation conducted a unique kidney transplant. A woman who had a kidney donated to her 9 years ago. After dying of a stroke, that kidney was successfully transplanted into her brother.
- To end this list, I chose an app developed in Israeli by the father of a fallen soldier. The app, done with the help and blessing of Israeli Ministry of Defence Department, allows you to search memorial programs, celebrations, poetry readings, etc. It then allows you to search for a memorial program near you or anywhere in the country.
“The Defense Ministry is inviting the public to download the app, participate in various memorial events, and embrace the bereaved families throughout the year. Hopefully the app will help the bereaved family members to inform the general public of memorial and commemoration events of loved ones, so that even those who did not know them, will be able to attend events and to honor their memory,” said Deputy Director-General and Head of the Commemoration Department in the Ministry of Defense, Aryeh Mualem.
Sources: United with Israel January 2015. Haaretz April 2015. MIT Technology Review April 2015. CNN June 2015. Israel Rising December 2015. Only Simchas March 2016. Breaking Israeli News – Technology Category. March 2016. . Israel National News Arutz Sheva June 2016. Boston Herald June 2016. Tech Crunch July 2016. The Jerusalem Post July 2016. Israel National News Arutz Sheva August 2016.