By Michael Kuttner…

It is mid December already and we are still waiting for the real nasty winter weather to arrive. Despite a recent downpour much more rain is needed to replenish the Kinneret and underground aquifers.

Like every change in Israel winter will eventually make itself felt with a wallop rather than a whimper. In contrast, Israel’s daily drip feed of positive developments keeps making headlines locally and internationally.

IS THIS THE ULTIMATE MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH? 

Just announced is a potentially revolutionary new technique for defeating cancerous tumors which could change treatment for oncology patients.

A Tel Aviv-based startup claims it has developed a technology that can cure tumors by injecting them with radioactive material that attacks and destroys the cancer cells. The procedure takes two hours or less and can be performed anywhere, the company says.

In the treatment, called Diffusing Alpha-emitters Radiation Therapy (DaRT), a needle containing radium-224, a radioactive isotope, is inserted into the location of the tumor. Once positioned, it emits alpha particles that have the capacity to exterminate the cancer cells. These particles are known to have the ability to cause irreparable breaks in the DNA of these cells. The problem with using alpha cells in cancer treatment is that they decay and lose effectiveness very quickly. So the Israeli firm came up with a system that uses a needle armed with radium-224. This needle is injected into the tumor, where it releases the radium. As the radium decays, after about four days, it releases “daughter atoms” that spread within the tumor and emit high-energy alpha particles, which target the cancer cells.

The system uses the short lifespan of the alpha particles to its advantage – after they destroy the cancer cells their effectiveness wanes, so they don’t affect healthy cells.

No side effects had been observed during clinical trials held by the company in Israel and in Italy, and any local, “non-severe” side effects “were resolved within one to two months.” The company said that the procedure can also help avert the future development and spread of the cancer in the patient.

Trials so far on patients have produced “sensational” results.

ISRAELI TECHNOLOGY PROTECTS G20

Israeli technology hired by Argentina to provide security during the G20 global leaders’ summit detected several unauthorised drone incidents.

The Defence Ministry of Argentina signed a contract worth more than £3.9m ($5 million) with its Israeli counterpart last year to provide cyber defence and cybersecurity services to the meeting. Israel is not a member of the G20 group. Several suspicious drones flying into the presence of global leaders were successfully blocked by the Israeli technology.

NEW ROCKET PROPULSION FUEL DEVELOPED

An Israeli startup is developing gel propulsion – a cheaper, more environmentally friendly rocket-engine technology offering the same level of performance and control as toxic “legacy fuel” and a better solution for smaller satellites, too.

Gel technology fits between the two existing propulsion alternatives: solid fuel, which burns for a single burst to launch rocket ships, and liquid fuel such as hydrazine, typically used to position satellites.

It’s much more ‘green’ than any other material used today in space. The stable gel provides several attributes that offer very cheap, flexible and powerful propulsion. It is estimated that gel fuel could lower the overall cost of the satellite system and operation by five times. The weight of the gel fuel is similar to liquid fuel but it’s safer to transport.

Israel once again is leading in the field of innovation.

TOURISM BREAKS ALL RECORDS

The number of tourists visiting Israel continues to soar. If you haven’t been here yet now is the time to join the crowd and see for yourselves how the innovation nation makes dreams come true.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYUzQ4zmoww

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel. 

[This article was originally published on J-Wire and is reproduced here with permission from Michael Kuttner.]