This is another in my Good News Friday series, even though the news this week has not been good at all. However I don’t like to leave you with a bad feeling before Shabbat, so here are some heartening items.
In a flying pig moment, an Israeli lawyer has been appointed to a top position in the UN as legal coordinator for the executive directorate of the U.N. Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee.
Dr. David Scharia, 43, a former senior official in the attorney-general’s office, has been appointed legal coordinator for the executive directorate of the U.N. Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee, making him the only Israeli in a senior security position within the U.N. Secretariat.
According to The Washington Post, the appointment is newsworthy because it is rare for Israelis to rise through the ranks of the U.N. “The organization helped give birth to Israel, but the recent history between the country and the U.N. has been contentious,” The Washington Post reported.
In the past, Scharia represented counterterrorism cases on behalf of the state before the Israeli Supreme Court. He has been working at the U.N. since September 2005.
David Scharia will oversee a team of 12 international legal experts who advise the 15-nation Security Council on its counterterrorism efforts.
I love his name – so suitable to the post. :-). I’m sure we all wish him lots of success, both in the personal capacity in his new job and as a representative of Israel in the UN.
In news completely unrelated to Israel, but of interest to everyone, the Jerusalem Post reports that an international team of scientists based in Korea have discovered that the common barnyard chicken could provide some very un-common clues for fighting off diseases and might even offer new ways to attack cancer.
Judging by the amount of chicken consumed by the average Israeli this can only be good news – although not for the chickens of course.
And the final piece of good news is yet another invention by Israeli bio-scientists; this time it is a drug delivery system that “puts thousands of toxic pharmaceutical molecules inside a targeted missile which goes off only when it reaches cancerous tissue.”
“Monoclonal antibodies” may sound like a great name for a heavy-metal band, but actually they’re the basis of best-selling pharmaceuticals raking in about $50 billion dollars a year.
The two-year-old Israeli company Immune Pharmaceuticals is fast emerging as a leader in developing new ways to use these antibodies, which are found in drugs such as Herceptin for breast cancer, Remicade to treat autoimmune diseases and Erbitux for head, neck and colorectal cancer.
Today’s monoclonal antibody drugs must be administered together with chemotherapy, which often is effective but can cause significant collateral damage.
At the recent meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, the buzz was about new drugs combining the power of anti-cancer drugs with the targeting abilities of antibodies. The first generation of those drugs, antibody drug conjugates, is now being approved for resistant cases of Hodgkin’s disease and breast cancer.
Immune is going one step further, using nanotechnology and biotechnology to deliver existing and new cancer drugs more safely and effectively.
While currently only a few chemo pharmaceuticals can be attached to each antibody, Immune’s “guided missile” system “puts thousands of toxic drug molecules inside a nanoparticle like a spaceship, so it’s imprisoned until it gets to the cancerous tissue,” says Teper.
There’s much more in the article. Read it all and shep nachas from our inventive scientists.
Shabbat shalom everyone. May the coming week bring better news.
Please note: Next week there will not be a “Good News Friday” post since it will be erev Tisha B’Av – unless Mashiach comes before then of course.