Canada embracing Israeli Medical Technology

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ReWalk Robotics

The Canadian health care system is embracing Israeli medical technology, with numerous Technion innovations promising to improve the lives of Canadians.

Some of the incredible Technion innovations being used or coming to Canada include: ReWalk, an exoskeleton device enabling individuals with lower limb disabilities to walk; Professor Hossam Haick’s Nanoscale Artificial Nose (NA-NOSE) technology –  a non-invasive diagnostic tool to identify cancer and other diseases;  and Professor Alon Wolf’s surgical snake robot, among others.

Discover how international collaborations are bringing these inventions, and other Israeli tech innovation to the fore-front of Canadian healthcare.

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Predicting Response to Cancer Treatment

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An Israeli algorithm may predict if cancer patients will respond to treatment.  Oncohost combines life-science research and advanced machine-learning technology to develop personalized strategies to maximize the success of cancer therapy.  By analyzing the patient’s proteins, the company aims to understand patients’ unique response to therapy and overcome resistance to therapy, one of the major obstacles in clinical oncology.

“Today, when a physician treats a patient, he has no idea if the patient is going to respond or not,” states Oncohost CEO Ofer Sharon. “Our platform will assess in a more educated way whether the patient is likely to ever respond..and provide the doctor with clinical insights as to what needs to be done to improve the patient’s chances of response.”

Oncohost founder and chief scientific adviser, Professor Yuval Shaked, serves as the head of the Technion Integrated Cancer Center.

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Helping Babies Breathe Easier

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Doctoral candidate Eliram Nof (left) and Prof. Josué Sznitman with their model of the upper respiratory tract of a premature baby.

More than 10 percent of babies worldwide are born prematurely, and a common complication of premature birth is respiratory distress. The respiratory system only reaches full function in the late stages of prenatal development, and premature infants may lack a unique soapy substance (surfactant), which prevents the collapse of the lungs and facilitates breathing. 

Fortunately, modern medicine is able to cope with this problem by providing an exterior surfactant that is delivered in conjunction with a ventilation machine.  However, in its current form, the use of a respirator is not without problems. One of the possible side effects in premature infants using a ventilation machine is damage to the lung tissue. Fortunately, a new technology developed by Technion researchers will protect the respiratory tract of premature infants needing assisted ventilation.

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Israel’s Biggest Tech Deals of the Decade

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The Technion is known for its innovation so it is no surprise that four of the 10 entries in this wrap up of the largest Israeli tech deals of the decade have Technion DNA!

  • At number 2 is the $6.9 billion acquisition by Nvidia of Mellanox Technologies Ltd. Mellanox Founder and President Eyal Waldman is a Technion alumnus.
  • At number 6 is security software firm Imperva’s entering into a definitive agreement to be acquired by American private-equity technology investment firm Thoma Bravo for approximately $2.1 billion. 
  • Technion alumnus Amichai Shulman is Imperva’s Co-founder and Chief Scientist. Number 7 is the acquisition of Habana Labs by Intel for $2 billion. Habana Chairman Avigdor Willenz, a Technion alumnus, will serve as a senior advisor to Intel. Habana CTO Shlomo Raikin and CBO Eitan Medina are also graduates of the Technion. 
  • At number 8 is the $1.6 billion acquisition of Mazor Robotics Ltd. by Medtronic. Mazor was co-founded by Technion Professor Moshe Shoham.

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The Future of Clean Energy

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Technion Researchers (L-R) : Dr. Hen Dotan , Avigail Landman , Prof. Avner Rothschild and Prof. Gideon Grader.
Credit: Chen Galili,

A research team from the Nancy and Stephen Grand Technion Energy Program has developed an innovative, clean, inexpensive, and safe technology for producing hydrogen from solar energy. The new system is based on a theoretical breakthrough by the Technion’s team, whereby it is safer to decompose the water into hydrogen and oxygen in two different cells, with no dangerous interaction which can cause explosions.

Technion Professor Avner Rothschild, one of the lead researchers, said the hydrogen produced by this process could  one day replace fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas that currently heat our homes and fuel our cars. The researchers hope that academics and industry will continue and advance the system into a commercial product.

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Technion Innovations in Alzheimer’s Research

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Alzheimer’s affects over half a million Canadians, with an additional 25,000 people diagnosed every year. The numbers are only rising, with predictions showing nearly one million people affected by the year 2031.

Technion researchers are bringing hope to the horizon with progressive innovations from early detection to slowing the clock on the symptoms.

Mission to the Brain

Technion researchers have found a way to slow and possibly repair the effects of Alzheimer’s. Will the new technology discovered by Professor Ester Segal’s research team be capable of breaking through our brain’s natural defense system?

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Putting the Pieces Together

Thanks to Runway, a startup postdoc program operated by Cornell Tech (the New York-based joint venture between Cornell University and Israeli research university, Technion Israel Institute of Technology), Quantified Biology is now getting the funding needed to develop their algorithm to help researchers find a cure for Alzheimer’s.

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A New Drug for Alzheimer’s

An effective drug for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s could one day be on the horizon thanks to research conducted in the Technion’s Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering.  A new connection between toxic fibrils and the structure of a-helical strands in proteins, discovered by Prof. Simcha Srebnic and doctoral student Boris Haimov, has already been generously supported by two fellowships.

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A Different Type of Breathalyzer

Exhaled breath is the most accessible and useful source for monitoring health and disorders. Prof. Hossam Haick, of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute of the Technion, has developed a breathalyzer capable of detecting the early onset of Parkinson’s disease.  The researchers have also identified the breath characteristics of 17 diseases, inlcuding Alzheimer’s, which would allow doctors to use this same technology for earlier detection and treatment.

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Smart Phone for Life

Analysis of text-based communications can reveal a lot about an individual. Renee Zacharowicz and Travis Allen, both Technion-Cornell Dual Master’s Degrees in Health Tech ’19, researched how an algorithm could be utilized to understand these “digital traces” and to detect a decline in language performance that could be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s.

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It’s not always easy. For every successful invention or breakthrough idea, there are hundreds of setbacks. Hurdles. Failures. But through it all, the Technion persists — because when your mission is to do good, nothing can get in your way.

Your generous support of the Technion ensures that, no matter the obstacles, good ideas get out of the lab so they can start changing and saving lives. You can help further research and innovation for Alzheimer’s research, and all world health.

Israel’s Codota Buys Canada’s TabNine 

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Israeli Artificial Intelligence (AI) assisted software developer Codota recently made news with its acquisition of Canadian code prediction tool developer TabNine. The acquisition creates a comprehensive AI platform for software authoring, and the only one that fully supports almost all popular programming languages.

Codota was founded in 2015 by CEO Dror Weiss and CTO and Technion Professor Eran Yahav. It is based upon extensive research that was conducted at the Technion.

TabNine was founded and is run by Jacob Jackson, a 22-year-old computer science graduate from the University of Waterloo.

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Haifa to become Hi-Tech Hub

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Haifa, Israel

Israel Innovation Authority and the ILAB Group, which includes the Technion-alumnus founded communications giant Mellanox, plan to invest $14.4 million to promote entrepreneurship in Haifa. The group also contains venture capital fund Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), and nonprofit organizations Mati Haifa and Israel Initiative 2020.

The initiative aims to support 150 startups in digital health, energy, environment, and smart mobility — all of which are areas of strength at the Technion.

“Haifa is not only the capital of the North but also the first city from which Israeli hi-tech emerged. We will bring Haifa to the forefront of the global hi-tech scene and position the city as one of Israel’s innovation capitals,” said JVP founder and chairman Dr. Erel Margalit.

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