From the Embassy: Israeli Medical Breakthrough

September 25, 2010 Agencies
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Israel is renowned for its bio-medical technology and outstanding research and development facilities, and in September, the country’s research teams have developed promising new treatments for fatal diseases. Aids Therapy and Research Study

Israeli researchers have developed a new treatment for HIV which kills the infected human cells, and which could lead to a breakthrough in treating AIDS. The study, co-authored by a team of four, was published in the peer reviewed British journal AIDS Research and Therapy.

The process makes use of peptides, or short protein segments, which vastly increase the replications of the virus once it enters a cell, causing the cell’s self-destruction, Haaretz said, citing one of the researchers.

“The usual medications kill the virus that has entered the body during infection and the (peptide) treatment allows cells infected with the genetic load of the virus to be killed,” Abraham Loyter, who carried out the study, was quoted as saying.

33.4 million people suffer from the HIV virus, the vast majority living in low and middle income countries, according to the World Health Organisation.

See a link to the study abstract here: http://www.aidstherapy.com/content/7/1/31

Treating AAT Deficiency, with inhalable drugs

Kamada, an Israeli bio-pharmaceutical company has developed an innovative way to deliver protein replacement drugs to treat Alpha-1 Antirypsin (AAT) deficiency. It is a genetic disorder affecting the liver and lungs and is always fatal. AAT starts in the liver, and results in chronic lung inflammation, which suffocates the patient.

The disorder affects one of every 2 500 people in the world, and it plays a role in cystic fibrosis, brochiesctasis, and even Type-1 diabetes. There are currently only two treatments: A lung and liver transplant, or a lifetime of receiving AAT intravenously.

This is where Kamada comes in. For most patients, transplants are not an option, and intravenous AAT delivery requires weekly hospitalization and medical support. However, Kamada’s inhalable liquid version can be used at home, and because the drugs are delivered directly to the lungs, it makes more therapeutic sense.

In partnership with PARI, a German-based firm, Kamada expects the product to be on the market in 2012, but VP of Business Development Yaron Cherny says initial reports are good. “Inhalable AAT has already succeeded in five clinical trials, with no adverse effects. The safety is almost perfect.”

Kamada was founded by Argentinean Jewish immigrant Ralf Hahn, and the company employs 250 people, including members of Kibbutz Beit Kama.

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Perspective

Egyptian Scientist Ahmed Moustafa’s spent a summer in Israel. Read his account the science and development industry of the Jewish state.

“For many in the Arab world, the word Israel elicits political thoughts only. However, it is important to appreciate Israel’s advanced science infrastructure and to recognize that, whatever one’s political views, scientific collaboration with Israel is not only possible but also potentially beneficial for Egypt and other Arab countries.”

http://www.spme.net/cgi-bin/articles.cgi?ID=7078

Ahmed Moustafa, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ

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