On the other hand

November 17, 2018 by Michael Kuttner
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Having endured several days of bombardment by rockets from Gaza the long-suffering residents of southern communities now face an uncertain temporary ceasefire…writes Michael Kuttner.

In the midst of this mayhem and unaffected by fake truces of illusory calm the pace of Israel’s research and innovation continues unabated as does its citizens’ zest for life.


 Israeli researchers have developed innovative molecules for effective treatment of glioblastoma, a very aggressive type of brain cancer.

These molecules inhibit protein formation, which is important for the development of glioblastoma. This type of cancer accounts for 17 per cent of all brain cancer tumours.

Glioblastoma originates in glial cells that support and protect the neurons. At some point, these cells begin to multiply without control. The life expectancy of patients with this cancer is between 11 and 27 months.

One of the problems in treating cancer is developing resistance to chemotherapy. The poor prognosis of glioblastoma patients led researchers to try to find an effective way to treat it.

The researchers found that MKNK2 genes produce two different proteins with a contrasting effect: Mnk2b, which acts as a cancer-causing gene, and Mnk2a, which functions as a cancer-inhibiting gene.

Combining molecule therapy with chemotherapy leads to much more significant cancer cell death than treatment alone.

The finding was approved as an international patent and is being marketed globally.



 Research at Ben Gurion University of the Negev has led the South Pacific island nation of Palau to ban sunscreen that contains harmful chemicals, in order to save its coral reefs, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Republic of Palau signed The Responsible Tourism Education Act of 2018 into law, making the tiny island nation the first country in the world to ban sunscreen products containing environmentally harmful ingredients.

The law, which takes effect in 2020, prohibits the use of environmental pollutants that threaten juvenile stages of many wildlife species, including corals, fish, and microalgae. The banned-substances on the list include oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene and 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor and parabens. These are all sun protection factor (SPF) chemicals used in sunscreen lotions or fragrances that absorb ultraviolet light from the sun.

The four parabens, triclosan, and phenoxyethanol are antimicrobial preservatives used in sunscreens, shampoos, moisturizers, liquid soaps, and hair conditioners. Marine biologists and environmentalists, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), say the banned substances can reduce the resiliency of ecosystems to climate change factors and, by themselves, prevent the recovery of degrading wildlife and habitats.

The resulting damage to coral reefs, including coral bleaching, in the South Pacific, Caribbean, Australia, Eilat and elsewhere poses a threat to one-quarter of marine species, threatens shorelines as well as vibrant tourism in affected areas.


An Israeli startup operating in the field of agro-technologies said it has developed an effective biological pesticide to fight a palm-tree-eating beetle — the red palm weevil — that attacks the trees globally.

When the biological compound was fed directly to the insect, it showed 100% efficacy in killing the red palm weevil larvae within a few days.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the red palm weevil is one of the world’s most invasive pest species and the most destructive pest of some 40 palm species worldwide.

The insect attacks palm trees as well as coconut trees. Around 100 million date palm trees are cultivated globally, and the potential damage of the insect without treatment is estimated at millions of dollars.


Another Israeli contribution to the fight against AIDS:


Young people from around the world love Israel:

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