In the March 8, 2015 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:
· Innovative Israeli chemotherapy can treat ovarian and brain tumors
· An Israeli industrial battery has no chemicals and can receive unlimited charges
· Technology from Jerusalem’s Hebrew University launched 9 new companies last year
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Ovarian cancer treatment works for brain tumors too. I reported in Mar 2014 that Professor Dan Peer of Tel Aviv University had developed chemotherapy using nano-particles to target ovarian tumors. It has now been engineered to target Glioblastoma multiforme – the most aggressive of brain cancer.
Israeli snack prevents peanut allergy. Long ago, UK Professor Gideon Lack discovered that hardly any Israeli infants developed peanut allergy. Now his new study has proved that the reason is the common practice of feeding Israeli children the peanut snack Bamba. It reverses conventional “wisdom” of avoiding peanuts.
Helping premature babies to hear. Without mentioning he is Israeli, the BBC World Service featured Dr Amir Lahav who has proved that the sound centers in preemies’ brains grow quicker when played recordings of their mothers’ voice. So follow Dr Lahav’s fascinating journey from the IDF, to volleyball coach, to musician, software designer, neuroscientist and Harvard pediatric professor.
Israelis are among the world’s healthiest eaters. A new study in February’s The Lancet Global Health Journal places the diet of the average Israeli the 9th healthiest out of 187 countries surveyed. The study, led by Dr Fumiaki Imamura of the University of Cambridge, covered 4.5 billion people.
Understanding irregular heartbeats. Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have revealed the detailed mechanisms that control the beating of the heart. Heart disease can cause individual heart filaments to lose synchronization. Replacing diseased cells in a structured manner can re-establish a regular rhythm.
Microlabs in space. (TY Michelle) Israeli innovations in space include SpacePharma’s laboratory that fits in the palm of your hand and will orbit in a nano-satellite, allowing scientists to conduct experiments and watch them happen on their smart phones.
Boost for ALS and diabetes treatment. Israel’s Kadimastem’s recent news includes success in pre-clinical tests of its stem cell treatment for ALS. The technology also induces pancreatic cells to produce insulin and Kadimastem has begun researchwith Ramot, Tel Aviv University’s technology transfer company.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Apple seeks Israeli chip technology. (TY Michelle) The Wall St Journal reports that Apple is advertising in Israel for silicon and semiconductor design and testing engineers. It also notes that Johny Srouji, Apple’s Vice President of hardware technologies, is an Israeli Arab from Haifa.
The smartwatch designed by Israelis.Two Israelis are responsible for designing the latest generation of Pebble Time smartwatches. Itai Vonshak is head of product and UX and Liron Damir is head of design. The company has raised over $14 million in just six days on Kickstarter – a new record.
Unlimited recharging. Israel’s Chakratec develops kinetic batteries with a mechanical flywheel to provide smart storage with unlimited charge/discharge cycles and no polluting chemicals. Chakratec has just won Ben-Gurion University’s Clean Technology Business Plan Competition.
US grant for Israeli agriculture research. Aiming to boost crop yields of plants like chickpeas and soybeans, the Hebrew University’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment has been awarded a $789, 000 grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
New joint Italian-Israeli science labs. Italy and Israel have established a neurology and brain laboratory in Tel Aviv, a solar laboratory in Sde Boker, a health sciences laboratory at Ben Gurion University, and a physics and magnetism laboratory at the Weizman Institute. A joint outer space laboratory has also been founded.
The coolest startup office in Israel. Take a tour round the office of Israeli video messaging startup Glide, located at the Jerusalem Technology Park.
Turn your smartphone into a tricorder. (TY Michelle) The optical filters developed by Israel’s Unispectral can identify an object’s hyperspectral signature – its unique chemical fingerprint. Applied to a smartphone camera, the data can be used to determine the object’s chemical components. Like a Star-Trek tricorder.
Saving Australia’s water. (TY Michelle) I featured Israel’s TaKaDu in January. Here is a more detailed report about the billions of liters of water that TaKaDu’s unique leaks and fault detection technology is saving in Australia’s parched state.
Grow more, water less. Israel’s CropX has developed an advanced adaptive irrigation software service, increasing crop yields whilst saving up to 25% of the water and energy used in irrigation of large ﬁelds. Three sensors placed in the ground send readings into the Cloud and CropX determines where to irrigate.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Israeli economy is stable. International credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s affirmed its ‘A+/A-1’ long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on the State of Israel, with a stable outlook. The forthcoming elections are not expected to undermine prudent public finances and government debt control.
Tel Aviv – the world’s 3rd best tech city. Tel Aviv is the third best place in the world for technology business, according to a new report by property consultants Savills. The scores were measured according to five metrics: business environment, tech environment, quality of life, talent pool and property affordability.
Trade with China. (TY Michelle) Israeli exports to China have risen from $1 billion in 2010 to over $3 billion last year. Half are electronic components, chemicals, or medical products. But the biggest rise was IT services.
And with Japan. (TY Michelle) In 2014, trade between Japan and Israel rose by 9.3% to $1.75 billion and there has been a recent surge in Japanese investments in Israel in a variety of hi-tech fields. (Writer Ohad Cohen heads Israel’s foreign commercial service, with 40 trade offices operating in more than 50 countries.)
Meerkat – a side project that took off. (TY Michelle) The Wall St Journal features a story about an Israeli startup that switched its main product when its co-founder built a new mobile application in eight weeks.
Hebrew U launches 9 companies. Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, founded nine new companies in 2014 on the basis of technology originating at the university.
Israel had most UK IPOs in 2014. (TY Atid-EDI) More Israeli companies had new listings on the London Stock Exchange in 2014 than from any country outside of the UK itself. Two (Matomy Media and Barak Capital) floated on the main market and seven more on the AIM secondary market.