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HADASSAH PHYSICIAN PARTICIPATES IN LUNG CANCER BREAKTHROUGH

COMPUTER ASSISTED IMAGING REVOLUTIONIZES ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY

LIFESAVING TREATEMENT FOR STROKE VICTIMS DEVELOPED BY HADASSAH-UPENN TEAM

HADASSAH STEM CELL RESEARCH PROVIDES HOPE FOR FAILING VISION

TURNING THE TIDE FOR STROKE VICTIMS

HADASSAH CARDIOLOGISTS SAVE CHILDREN IN CHINA

 


HADASSAH PHYSICIAN PARTICIPATES IN LUNG CANCER BREAKTHROUGH

(New York, NY -- October 26, 2006) -- The results of an international research study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine report that an annual low-dose CT scan can detect lung cancer in its earliest stage in 85 percent of patients, and when followed by prompt surgical removal, 92 percent have a 10-year survival rate.

Implementation of this simple procedure would dramatically decrease the number of deaths from this disease, considered the most lethal cancer in the western world. Some 170,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with this cancer every year; about 95 percent of them do not survive. Currently, most cases are diagnosed when the lung cancer is in its later stages.

The study, initiated by researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in 1993, expanded into an international research effort known as I-ELCAP (International Early Lung Cancer Action Program), involving researchers from 38 medical centers in seven countries. Dr. Claudia Hencshke of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell, is the lead author and principal investigator.

The Hadassah University Medical Center is the only Israeli hospital that participated in this research effort – the largest and longest study to test the effectiveness of annual CT scans in the early detection of lung cancer.

Dr. Dorit Shaham of Hadassah’s Imaging Institute, one of I-ELCAP’s founders, played a major role in the international research group along with leading the Hadassah research aspect of the study. Among her contributions was the creation of an Internet site that the group is using to teach physicians.

Cure for lung cancer is likely only when it is discovered in Stage I. Of the 31,567 people the I-ELCAP teams tested, CT scans diagnosed 484 with lung cancer, with 412 in Stage I. All but eight of them received treatment; all of the eight died within five years. All the research participants were more than 40 years old and considered at high risk for developing lung cancer from smoking, passive smoke or exposure to cancerous materials in their work places.

Of the 1,000 people tested in Israel, 15 were diagnosed with lung cancer with 85 percent of them in Stage I. All were treated after diagnosis and their disease has not returned.

“These research findings provide convincing proof that the early detection of lung cancer by CT scanning can give hope to millions of people,” Dr. Shaham said. “They also prove that immediate treatment after detection in its early phase may dramatically decrease lung cancer mortality rates.”


 

COMPUTER ASSISTED IMAGING REVOLUTIONIZES ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY


Prof. Iri Liebergall, Head of Hadassah’s Orthopedic Departments, and Dr. Yoav Matan, Director of the Joint Replacement Center at Hadassah University Hospital-Mt. Scopus, who performed the world’s first computer-guided hip replacement operation two years ago, have further refined their groundbreaking surgery by replacing electro-optics with electro-magnetic technology that provide for enhanced precision. This new technology may shorten the patient’s recovery period and hospital stay.

 

Computer navigation systems provide surgeons with an accurate three-dimensional virtual picture of the surgical area. The image is continuously transmitted to a computer screen as they operate.

This complex procedure is conducted through a minimal incision of two inches.

 

The electro-optic technology requires surgeons to maintain a continuous line of vision between the computer and the site of the patient’s surgery, forcing them to change their location during the operation thus prolonging the procedure. The new electro-magnetic technology enables surgeons to operate without constantly considering the computer’s location. “This new technology ensures that Hadassah will maintain its position as a world leader in computer-guided orthopedic surgery,” notes Prof. Liebergall, whose 12-person team performs about 600 joint replacements a year; 230 of them are knee replacement surgeries.

 

The new electro-magnetic technology has already been used in five operations. “We are proud,” said Prof. Liebergal, “that these giant American corporations such as Zimmer and Medtronics that developed these technologies, chose Hadassah in Jerusalem as the medical center to install the latest refinement of their sophisticated computer navigation system.”

 


 

LIFESAVING TREATEMENT FOR STROKE VICTIMS DEVELOPED BY HADASSAH-UPENN TEAM

 

A Hadassah-University of Pennsylvania research team has developed a peptide that could save the lives and improve the treatment of people stricken with ischemic strokes. Their findings, published recently in the prestigious medical journal, Nature Neuroscience, indicate they have found a way to bypass the serious side effects of the thrombolytic agent tPA, a medication that dissolves clotting.

 

For over 50 years, doctors and scientists have known that the body’s tPA (tissue-type plasminogen activator) has the natural ability to dissolve blood clots.  However, in the vast majority of stroke victims, 97 percent, it also causes acute cranial hemorrhaging. Pharmaceutical companies have replicated tPA to augment the body's natural supply, but they have been unable to eliminate its dangerous side effects or give it a longer therapeutic window. Currently, only about three percent of stroke victims can receive tPA, the only FDA-approved treatment for acute ischemic stroke.

 

Prof. Abd Al-Roof Higazi , and colleagues from the Hadassah University Medical Center’s Department of Clinical Biochemistry, and a team led by Prof. Douglas B Cines  of the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine developed the peptide. The article that appeared on August 27 described how they had modified tPA’s function using a peptide that can bind to tPA, change its structure and significantly decrease its side effects. The peptide treated tPA preserves tissue viability after traumatic brain injury and stroke without inhibiting tPA’s clotting activity and provides a longer therapeutic window.

 

An editorial commenting on the Hadassah-University of Pennsylvania team's findings that appeared in another prestigious medical journal, Nature Medicine, concluded: “If these results are extended to humans, they could usher in a new era of thrombolytic therapy for stroke, which is the leading cause of disability in the world and the third leading cause in the United States after cancer and heart disease.”

 

Prof. Higazi is the Chief Scientific Officer of Thrombotec Ltd., a start-up company of Hadasit, the technology transfer company of the Hadassah Medical Organization, which owns the patents for both the stroke and heart attack treatment involving the peptide-treated tPA. Thrombotec Ltd is included in the portfolioof Hadasit Bio-Holdings Ltd. (HDST) that was floated on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange last December.

 

Thrombotec is involved in advanced negotiations with a strategic partner that has designated its potential investment to enhancing the development of the peptide in preparation for clinical trials. Thrombotec has already signed an agreement with a Belgium company to manufacture the peptide.

 

The researchers have successfully tested their findings on animal models. After completing toxicology tests, they will request permission to conduct clinical trials, which they anticipate will begin within one to two years.

 

More than 750,000 Americans suffer strokes and about 150,000 die each year. About $51 billion is spent on treatment and rehabilitation annually. In Israel, 15,000 people suffer stroke every year and 1,200 die.


HADASSAH STEM CELL RESEARCH PROVIDES HOPE FOR FAILING VISION

Hadassah physicians are making progress in using stem cells to slow down age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Dr. Eyal Banin, Head of Hadassah's Center for Retinal and Macular Degeneration, and Prof. Benjamin Reubinoff, Head of Hadassah’s Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Center, report that they created Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) cells in culture that bear marked similarity to native RPE cells in human eyes. RPE cells are most likely to fail first when a person develops AMD, and replacing or supporting these cells may help slow down degeneration.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time that human embryonic stem cells were shown to differentiate in this fashion,” Dr. Banin said.

“When transplanted into the eyes of rats, some of the transplanted cells express markers specific for photoreceptor cells, the cells that absorb light and begin the process of vision.” So far the derivation of retinal cells from human embryonic stem cells has only been achieved in the laboratories. Dr. Bannin cautions that while these findings provide hope for AMD sufferers, “we are looking at a decade, at the very least, before this technology comes into clinical use. It’s a very new field, there’s a very large leap to be made from rodent to human eyes, and there are many potential risks to be controlled before stem cells can be applied clinically.”


TURNING THE TIDE FOR STROKE VICTIMS

After twelve years of research, Prof. Abd Al-Roof Higazi and colleagues from Hadassah’s Department of Clinical Biochemistry, together with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, have developed a substance that has the potential to revolutionize treatment of strokes. The substance, called a peptide, proved to stop the disastrous hemorrhaging in animal models that is often a side effect of medicine used to dissolve stroke-causing blood clots. Plans are underway to begin clinical trials in humans. Prof. Higazi is the Chief Scientific Officer of Thrombotec Ltd., a start-up company of Hadasit, Hadassah’s technology transfer company. Prof. Higazi grew up in the Galilee village of Tamra, and lives with his family in Neve Shalom, a mixed Jewish-Arab village dedicated to coexistence. His peptide, he hopes, will turn the tide on stroke treatment.


HADASSAH CARDIOLOGISTS SAVE CHILDREN IN CHINA

A delegation of pediatric cardiologists from the Hadassah Medical Center and two other Israeli hospitals, under the auspices of the Israeli Health Ministry, spent 10 days in China operating on 21 children with heart problems. Covering a region of 70 million people, they took the opportunity to train local medical staff in the latest catheterization techniques and visited children who had previously been operated on in Israel. In addition, they identified other Chinese children with complicated medical problems who would need to be brought to our Hadassah Medical Center for treatment.

Aside from dealing with cardiac problems, the physicians gave lectures to local doctors and nurses on emergency medicine and trauma treatment.

 



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