Technion’s Top Cancer Research

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TECHNION RESEARCH FOR A CANCER FREE WORLD

September 24th marks World Cancer  Research Day – an international awareness day to raise worldwide attention and inspire action for a cancer-free future. 

The Technion’s Integrated Cancer Center is comprised of: state-of-the-art cancer research in the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, exceptional engineering and basic science faculties, and five affiliated medical centers – including the Rambam Health Care Campus, which is adjacent to the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and has the largest cancer facility in northern Israel and one of the largest in the country.

Technion researchers are committed to finding new diagnostic technologies, treatments and cures to create a healthier, cancer-free future.

CURE FOR MELANOMA

Patients often fail to respond to treatments for Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. However, a team led by Technion Prof. Amir Orian and Technion lecturer Dr. Emily Avitan-Hersh found two proteins that could lead to a new approach to overcoming anti-cancer drug resistance in melanoma.

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TREATMENT-RESISTANT CANCER GETS FUNDING BOOST

Why does cancer therapy help some patients and not others? That is a question Technion Prof. Yuval Shaked has been trying to answer with his latest medical research backed by EU funds.

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EARLY CARDIOVASCULAR DIAGNOSIS IS THE ANSWER

According to a team of researchers headed by Technion Professor Ami Aronheim, Professor Yuval Shaked, and Dr. Shimrit Avraham, early diagnosis of heart problems in cancer patients could significantly impact treatment success.

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BACTERIA TO FIGHT CANCER

Prof. Naama Geva-Zatorsky’s research determines that immune effects of gut bacteria can prevent cancer. Prof. Geva Zatorsky is a member of the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and the Technion Integrated Cancer Center.

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CANNABIS:  FOR CANCER AND BEYOND

Technion Prof. Dedi Meiri is best known for his cutting-edge research into cannabis as a cancer treatment. He also investigates cannabis’ potential to treat Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neurological diseases.

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COLD ATMOSPHERIC PLASMA TECHNOLOGY: THE FUTURE OF CANCER TREATMENT

Technion and Rambam Health Care Campus is progressing their research to create a Cold Atmospheric Plasma (CAP) device that can selectively fight cancer cells without damaging surrounding healthy tissue.

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A FASTER WAY TO DIAGNOSE & PREDICT CANCER

Technion Prof. Daphne Weihs has found a way to diagnose aggressive cancer tumors in two hours. The next stage of her research is that “[they] may be able to find out more and predict where in the body a secondary tumor is likely to develop.”

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CURING CANCER – AND SHRIMP VIRUSES

Technion Researcher Avi Schroeder is leading multiple breakthroughs to fight cancer and cure viruses. “I feel, and this is supported by research data, that in the upcoming decade, we will solve most problems with cancer treatment,” he said. “By 2030, we will reach a place where most cancer patients will be cured.” Today, he is also applying his research to find a vaccine for COVID-19.

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PROMISING TUMOR-BUSTING TECHNOLOGY GETS FUNDED

After 10 years of funded research, aMoon, a health-tech fund,makes a $5 million investment in Technion Dean Marcelle Machluf’s venture to help bring her Nano-Ghost tumor-busting technology to market.

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BLOOD TESTS IN YOUR OWN HOME

Ten years of research went into the creation of PixCell’s HemoScreen hematology analyzer. This enables cancer patients to have their blood tested at home. The patent pending, FDA-approved device is based on technology known as viscoelastic focusing, which was first discovered at the Technion.

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With your help, Technion researchers will help create a future without cancer.  Let’s give them the tools to create a healthier tomorrow for all of us!

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Technion Update: Advancements Against COVID-19

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Technion – Israel Institute of Technology is at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. Researchers from 50 different labs are developing solutions including vaccine research and therapeutics, personal protective equipment, diagnostics, and assistive technologies for healthcare providers. Despite months of hardship and uncertainty, we have witnessed the power of unity and collaboration. 

“ICU ROOM OF THE FUTURE”

Israel’s Sheba Hospital recently unveiled what they call “the ICU room of the future”. It features many innovative technologies that were developed by Technion alumni including: AnyVision, Vocalis and CLEW Medical. This room maximizes care and comfort while minimizing risk to staff during the Coronavirus pandemic.

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UV LIGHT TO COMBAT COVID-19

Prof. Ido Kaminer

An international team of research scientists, including Prof. Ido Kaminer of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, advocate the use of ultraviolet light as a “particularly efficient, easily deployable, and economically affordable” way to inactivate the Coronavirus and reduce transmission in indoor spaces. Their findings were recently published in the journal ACS Nano.

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AN ALGORITHM TO IMPROVE COVID-19 TREATMENT

Assistant Prof. Joachim Behar

Assistant Prof. Joachim Behar, head of Technion’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, together with Master’s student Jeremy Levy and doctors from Rambam Health Care Campus, have developed a new set of tools to analyze the data collected by oximeters, which monitor oxygen saturation levels in a patient’s blood. Information gathered by oximeters monitoring patients with COVID-19 could help doctors predict deterioration in a patient’s condition.

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99% ACCURATE RAPID HOME TEST 

Prof. Naama Geva-Zatorsky & Team

Prof. Naama Geva-Zatorsky, of Technion’s Faculty of Medicine, is leading a team of researchers in the development of a home kit that would enable people to be quickly and inexpensively tested for the Coronavirus. Without elaborate lab equipment, it has a 99% accuracy rate based on 200 biological samples from patients affected by the virus. Today, her lab is working on improving its sensitivity for detection in low concentrations.

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SURVEILLING SEWERS FOR COVID-19

Using the Internet of Things (IoT), original algorithms, and artificial intelligence, Israeli startup Kando, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and Ben-Gurion University have launched a pilot project to detect traces of the novel Coronavirus in the wastewater of Ashkelon. Kando allows experts to pinpoint specific areas affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, enabling responses and potentially avoiding total lock-down in the event of a second wave of the Coronavirus.

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NANOSCENT’S BREATH TEST FOR CORONAVIRUS

Nanoscent is using nano-sensor technology and AI to diagnose patients in half a minute through breath samples. Originally tested by researchers at the Technion and the Rambam Health Care Campus back in March, trials are underway to apply this testing method to drive-through testing clinics across Israel. In addition, Magen David Adom has started using the technology at their testing stations, as have Tel Aviv Medical Center and Poriya Medical Center. Co-founder and CEO Dr. Oren Gavriely is a Technion alumnus.

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BOOSTING MASK EFFECTIVENESS

The unique “Maya” sticker is a 3D-printed sticker, developed by the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, led by Prof. Eyal Zussman. The innovative sticker contains nanofibers coated with antiseptics. Stuck onto surgical masks, the team says the sticker significantly upgrades protection, and is able to capture and kill nano-particles of 99 percent of viruses from droplets that reach the mask.  The next step is mass production for hospitals and the public.

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POOLED TESTING ACCELERATES COVID-19 SCREENING

Researchers at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology announced a successful trial of pooling medical samples and performing simultaneous testing for the presence of the Coronavirus in batches of 32 or 64 samples at a time. Now, the test is undergoing final validation and it should be available for widespread use by winter, when the prevalence of other respiratory diseases will make rapid diagnosis of COVID-19 even more critical.

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DIAGNOSTICS ROBOTICS GOES GLOBAL

Diagnostic Robotics Ltd is an AI-based remote screening platform used by Israel to monitor the spread of COVID-19. It has now been deployed globally, including in the U.S., Western Europe, and Asia. Co-founders Jonathan Amir and Dr. Kira Radinsky, and Prof. Moshe Shoham are all Technion alumni. Prof. Shoham also teaches at Technion’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and heads the Kahn Medical Robotics Laboratory.

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CORTICA’S TOUCH-LESS TECH FOR A COVID-19 WORLD

Corsight, a subsidiary of the high-tech company Cortica, launched their touchless AI technology globally. Their high-speed AI facial recognition technology helps medical teams access locked areas without removing protective gear. Emerging from research at the Technion, Cortica was founded by Technion Prof. Yehoshua Zeevi and doctoral graduates, Igal Raichelgauz and Karina Ordinaev.

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Technion breakthroughs in COVID research and technologies have been a source of inspiration and hope throughout the pandemic. When you support the Technion       COVID-19 Emergency Research Fund, you contribute to the success stories that will help us overcome this health crisis as quickly as possible.

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Killing COVID with Ultraviolet Light

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Prof. Ido Kaminer

A team of international scientists, including Prof. Ido Kaminer of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, studied various methods to prevent coronavirus contagion in indoor spaces. Based on their findings, recently published in ACS Nano, they advocate the use of ultraviolet light as a “particularly efficient, easily deployable, and economically affordable” way to inactivate the virus.

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Overcoming Drug Resistant Melanoma

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Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have suggested a new approach to overcoming anticancer-drug resistance in melanoma based on the discovery of  two proteins that together play together a major role in the phenomenon.

The research, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, was headed by Prof. Amir Orian (head of the lab for the study of genetic networks at the Faculty of Medicine and a member of the Technion’s Integrated Cancer Research Center of the Technion’s Rapaport Faculty of Medicine) and Dr. Emily Avitan-Hersh (a lecturer in the Technion’s Faculty of Medicine and deputy director of the dermatology department and a member of the Rambam Clinical Research Institute at Rambam Medical Center), in collaboration with Prof. Ze’ev A. Ronai of the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in California.

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Accelerated Testing of COVID-19

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Technion and Rambam Health Care Campus scientists present a novel method for testing more than 60 patients simultaneously

Researchers at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and Rambam Health Care Campus have successfully tested a method that will dramatically increase the current COVID-19 testing capacity using existing available resources. This method, known as pooling, enables simultaneous testing of dozens of samples. Its implementation has the potential to greatly accelerate the rate of testing and detection of COVID-19 infected patients in the population. The trial was completed in a matter of days thanks to the support of the Ministry of Health and the close collaboration between Technion and Rambam.

Testing for COVID-19 is currently being conducted in Israel with the focus on people with specific symptoms. The current rate of testing – about 1,200 a day – does not allow for monitoring of asymptomatic carriers in the population, which is vital to curb the epidemic.

COVID-19 is diagnosed with PCR testing, which is common for virus monitoring. This test examines the presence of a unique genetic sequence of viruses in a sample taken from the patient. The test takes several hours thus generating a bottleneck in identifying COVID-19 infected people in Israel and around the world. According to Dr. Yuval Gefen, director of the Rambam Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, “Today, we receive approximately 200 COVID-19 test samples a day, and each sample undergoes individual examination. According to the new pooling approach we have currently tested, molecular testing can be performed on a “combined sample,” taken from 32 or 64 patients. This way we can significantly accelerate the testing rate. Only in those rare cases, where the joint sample is found to be positive, will we conduct an individual test for each of the specific samples.”

According to Professor Roy Kishony, head of the research group in the Faculty of Biology at Technion, “This is not a scientific breakthrough, but a demonstration of the effectivity of using the existing method and even the existing equipment to significantly increase the volume of samples tested per day. This is done by pooling multiple samples in a single test tube. Even when we conducted a joint examination of 64 samples in which only one was a positive carrier, the system identified that there was a positive sample. Although there are some logistical challenges in implementing the method, we expect that it will greatly increase the volume of samples tested per day so that we can identify the asymptomatic carriers. This approach should reduce the chance of infection and flatten the infection curve.”

Director of the Rambam Virology Lab, Dr. Moran Szwarcwort-Cohen estimates that, “implementing pooling in the final stage of the PCR test will make it easier for us to shorten the entire process and significantly increase the test rate.”

President of the Technion Professor Uri Sivan said: “This experiment conducted by Technion and Rambam researchers is complex, and under normal circumstances would take months. This is a remarkable example of the mobilization of an outstanding team in a time of crisis. The initial experiment was completed in less than four days. This achievement emphasizes the importance of the close relationship between Technion and Rambam and between medicine and engineering. Technion researchers have been enlisted in the war against the Coronavirus and this is one of the many activities currently underway at Technion to combat the spread of the disease.”

General Director of Rambam Health Care Campus Prof. Michael Halberthal said, “This collaboration between Technion and Rambam, for the benefit of all humanity, is just one example of many joint projects between the two institutions. These collaborations are designed to harness the multidisciplinary capabilities of Technion researchers for the advancement of medicine.”

The experiment was led at Technion by Dr. Idan Yelin, together with Noga Aharony, Einat Tamar, and Dina Berenbaum in Prof. Kishony’s laboratory together with Amir Argoetti from Professor Yael Mandel-Gutfreund’s laboratory, both labs are in the Faculty of Biology. Dr. Esti Messer, head of the Technon Biological Safety Dept, was enlisted to help set up the dedicated laboratory and accompanied the entire experiment. Prof. Kishony holds the Marilyn and Henry Taub Chair in Life Sciences. The Rambam Health Care Campus team was led by Dr. Yuval Gefen and Dr. Moran Szwarcwort-Cohen, and Prof. Michael Halberthal, Rambam General Director and CEO.