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Israel is starting to win the battle with cancer

Original source here.

With half of us expected to develop cancer at some point, recent breakthroughs are huge

World Cancer Day — marked each year on 4 February — matters to everyone on the planet, given that one in two of us will develop the disease at some point in our lives. Even if we’re lucky enough not to get it ourselves, we will likely know someone who does. 

On a personal note, I am living first-hand with the very real impact cancer has on both the person suffering and their loved ones. My brother Mike was diagnosed three years ago.

Whilst I remain optimistic, it has been and still is an incredibly difficult time for him and our families and my sympathies lie with anyone who has to go through this. 

But there have been amazing breakthroughs in how we discover and then treat cancer, especially in Israel.

Changing the way cancer is detected is being revolutionised thanks to Ibex Medical Analytics, the creator of an Artificial Intelligence-based diagnostic software.

A team of Israeli researchers has shed light on a key issue in treatment — the mechanisms that sometimes (and seemingly unpredictably) result in successful chemotherapy but can also lead to the development of cancer metastasis, the main cause of cancer mortality. These findings could enable a combination of different drugs and treatments to reduce the chances of this happening.

Indeed, while chemotherapy still very much has a role in cancer treatment, the fact that it can also damage healthy cells has led many scientists to try to create more targeted approaches.

One of the biggest names to come out of Israeli cancer advancements is NanoGhost, which does just that. This groundbreaking technology targets cancer cells with modified adult stem cells loaded with medicine. Meanwhile, OncoHost is the startup behind an AI-based blood test that will allow doctors to provide personalised treatment plans to cancer patients, thanks to a prediction of how patients will respond to immunotherapy. 

And the groundbreaking discovery that cancer cells recruit the nerve cells around them both to stimulate and spread the disease has led another team of Israeli researchers to develop a revolutionary breast cancer treatment that targets the tumour through the nerve cells by injecting anaesthetic into the bloodstream to paralyse the communication between the nerve and cancer cells. It doesn’t end there. Several other innovations — not directly related to the research, diagnosis or treatment of cancer but equally impactful nonetheless — are also leaving their mark on the disease.

PixCell’s HemoScreen is a quick, easy-to-use, portable and reliable instrument that enables real-time blood testing to be performed by anyone, anywhere, crucially before they set foot in the chemotherapy clinic. This saves patients time, energy and a considerable level of risk because it will identify the levels of their white blood cells — a vital metric before receiving the next dose of chemotherapy — saving the need to venture out unnecessarily. Results are also delivered within five minutes, a significant improvement on the hours of waiting time using more traditional methods, which is also a game-changer for the hospitals.

And when it comes to pain relief, patients have another team of Israeli researchers to thank, following the publication of research that medicinal cannabis is a highly effective tool and could be a viable alternative to opioids, which are both addictive and can come with uncomfortable side effects.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, all of these advancements are strongly linked to the Technion, with professors and graduates working tirelessly in the fight against cancer. This has been helped by the establishment in 2016 of the Technion Integrated Cancer Centre, the first of its kind in Israel. Here, the extensive knowledge and vast experience in oncology accumulated at the university and its affiliated medical centres are combined, resulting in a dramatic change in the field of cancer medicine in Israel, through diagnosis, treatment and follow-up based on the principles of personalised medicine. Cancer, we pray that you have met your match.

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