7 Israeli Medical Breakthroughs

robot snake

7 Israeli Medical Breakthroughs that are Improving and Saving Lives

Israel, the Start-Up Nation, is renowned for the countless innovations and technological advances that emanate from this small country of bright, motivated individuals. And while some of these breakthrough developments enhance our daily routines, there are others that have the potential to literally save lives or enable those with physical challenges to lead an independent existence. We’ve chosen to highlight seven of them.

  1. NaNose

    The NaNose artificial olfactory system is an amazing device that was invented to detect cancer in its earliest stages, well before any tumors are actually visible on x-rays. The NaNose analyzes a patient’s breath, and offers results anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour later, with an accuracy rate of 86 to 97 percent. The benefits of screening for cancer in this way is that the patient does not have to ingest, or be subjected to, potentially dangerous radioactive material or x-rays, which, themselves, could conceivably cause cancer. Early diagnosis of cancer can be lifesaving for many, because the sooner it’s diagnosed, the more treatable it is.

    Professor Hossam Haick invented this early-warning system after observing that certain dogs’ have an uncanny ability to sniff out certain diseases. He felt that he could invent a medical device that could do the same job, or better, and it seems that he has. Still in clinical trials, the NaNose artificial nose is also being customized to pick up other diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.

    Watch this video from Technion (the Israel Institute of Technology) that explains how the device works

  2. ImMucin

    Once cancer is detected, it must be treated. Enter a cancer vaccine called ImMucin, developed in Israel by Dr. Lior Carmon. This vaccine trains the body’s immune cells to attack a specific molecule which is found only in cancer cells. The cancer patient is inoculated every few months to help keep the body’s immune system on the job fighting the cancer cells. The beauty of this medication is that it only targets cancer cells. Therefore, the patient does not experience the negative side effects normally associated with cancer treatment, that affect healthy tissue as well. In its first clinical trial, ImMucin successfully triggered the immune system in all 15 patients who participated in the study.

  3. HBOT

    HBOTA new study from Tel Aviv University offers hope to patients who have suffered serious brain damage. Dr. Shai Efrati of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine came up with a theory that treating patients who suffered from brain injuries with something as simple as oxygen could “reawaken” non-functioning brain cells. Dr. Efrati teamed up with Professor Eshel Ben-Jacob of Tel Aviv University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, and the Sagol School of Neuroscience, and treated two stroke victims with HyperBaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). This was accomplished by placing the study participants in high pressure chambers which contained oxygen-rich air, for a number of sessions over the course of two months.

    The results were astonishing. Testing indicated a significant increase in neural activity in both patients, along with the renewed ability to do simple tasks that they had been unable to do previously. These tasks included climbing stairs, reading a book, bathing, and cooking. The research on HBOT’s effect on patients has recently been expanded to include victims of traumatic brain injury, early stage Alzheimer’s, and vascular dementia. This medical innovation has the potential to change lives across the world.

  4. OrCam

    orcamMagnifying glasses may be a thing of the past for individuals with limited vision. Enter the OrCam – a pocket-sized computer linked to a camera that clips onto eyeglasses. This device offers greater independence to those with low vision. Using it is simple – the user simply points at something within his or her line of vision, and the device reads it for him/her in an audible voice. The OrCam can read labels on products or articles in magazines, decipher a menu, announce street signs, and more. The OrCam can also alert the user when a crosswalk sign switches from red to green.

    Audio from the OrCam is piped into a bone conduction headphone so that only the owner of the device hears the narration. The device is produced by an Israeli startup of the same name (OrCam) and priced at only $2500. So far, the device only reads English text, but foreign language could very well be available in the future.

  5. Bio-Retina

    bio-retinaRestoring sight is now a realistic goal for those suffering from retinal- degenerative diseases, thanks to the Bio-Retina device, which is under development by an Israeli company called Nano Retina. The Bio-Retina is a tiny implant that is inserted into the eye and attached to the retina in a 30 minute procedure performed under local anesthetic. This breakthrough device offers grey-scale vision to the blind almost instantaneously.

    The embedded sensor is powered wirelessly by a rechargeable, battery-powered mini laser, positioned on a pair of eyeglasses. Nano Retina is currently in the manufacturing phase, with pre-clinical and clinical trials due to begin in 2015.

  6. Pandemic Detection

    Dr. Kira Radinsky of Technion (the Israel Institute of Technology) has developed software that can help predict pandemics. Analyzing hundreds of years of documentation, Dr. Radinsky uncovered certain chains of natural historical events that can predict things like rampant disease in a particular area of the world. For example, her algorithms seemed to point to a particular combination of droughts and storms that can lead to a cholera outbreak, and in this way she was able to predict the Cuban cholera pandemic of 2012, months before it took began. This type of information could help scientists and physicians prepare in advance for outbreaks of disease, and hopefully stem the tide of the illness early in its onset.

  7. Robot Snake

    What do you do when a building collapses with people inside and entry may cause further damage and loss of life? You send in the robot snake, of course! Developed in association with the Technion, the robot snake is a flexible, many-jointed robot designed to explore the collapsed building and locate victims, thereby assisting in rescue efforts. The head of the robot holds a camera, and each joint has a motor, computer, sensor, wireless communication, and batteries. Check out this cool and eerie robot, as well as other robots developed at Technion!

  8. How amazing are all these incredible inventions coming from Israel? Let us know how you feel about them by commenting below, and if you want to go to Israel and perhaps learn more about some of these devices up close, check out our upcoming Israel HiTech Trip, which we’ve also talked about in a previous post.

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2 Comments on 7 Israeli Medical Breakthroughs


  2. Ettie Bersson says:

    These inventions are absolutely incredible! Thank you for the fascinating and intriguing article. I’m lookin’ forward to reading more.

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