At its 26th annual conference in Shanghai, China, the international Society for Medical Innovation and Technology (SMIT) awarded its International Prize for Medical Innovation and Technology to Prof. Yoav Mintz, Director of the Center for Innovative Surgery at the Hadassah Medical Center for his research aimed at developing a novel, nonsurgical method to perform gastric bypass and cure Type 2 diabetes. Approximately 300 participants were on hand from about 20 countries.
Prof. Mintz, in cooperation with the Israeli start-up EasyNOTES, recently developed a method to perform a gastric bypass without a single incision or anesthesia, by using an endoscope to place magnets into the small intestine and stomach. Over the next seven days following placement of the magnets, thanks to the natural healing process of the body, a connection in the tissues is formed between the magnets.
“At this point in time,” explains Prof. Mintz, “this system, in the advanced stages of development, is designed to cure Type 2 diabetes. “Two simple endoscopic procedures is all that it takes,” he adds.
There are more than 285 million cases of diabetes worldwide and a forecast of an increase to 485 million cases by the year 2030, according to the International Diabetes Federation. Gastric bypass, performed primarily for weight loss in the morbidly obese, also has the effect of putting 80 percent of cases of Type 2 diabetes into remission. As Prof. Mintz reports, global experience with bariatric surgery reveals that “patients suffering from diabetes show a resolution of their disease within a few days following surgery, even before losing weight.”
While medical centers around the world are performing gastric bypass surgery for diabetic patients who are not obese with good results, there are differing opinions as to whether the surgical risks are too great to justify the operation. Prof. Mintz’s procedure is aimed at achieving the same positive results without the risks of major invasive surgery.
Prof. Mintz is a graduate of the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Medicine and completed his residency in surgery at the Hadassah Medical Organization. While doing a two-year fellowship at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), Prof. Mintz worked with Prof. Mark Talmini and Prof. Santiago Horgan, world leaders in minimally invasive and robotic surgery. When he completed his fellowship, he returned to Hadassah to implement the new techniques and vision. An inventor with half a dozen patents registered in his name, Prof. Mintz serves on the steering committee of SMIT, is an active member of SAGES (Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons), as well as EAES ( European Association of Endoscopic Surgery), where he serves on the technology committee.