Good News Friday

It’s been yet another difficult week (do we ever get any other kind?) so thank goodness it’s Friday and time for another Good News Friday installment.

We’ll start with Israel’s outstanding biomedical industry. Yet another possible cure for cancer, this time for terminal cancer, has been discovered by Israeli researchers:

Clinical trials of a new drug cocktail have been shown to cure 58 percent of terminally-ill patients by shrinking cancerous tumors or eliminating them altogether. The scientific community is hailing this discovery as a major breakthrough in cancer research.

The new cocktail is a form of immunotherapy, a relatively new class of drugs that harness the body’s immune system to extinguish fatal tumors. Israeli researcher Prof. Jacob Schachter, who took part in the development of the drug and in the recent clinical trials, told Israel’s Channel 10 that the newfound drug cocktail could serve as the basis of treatment for many types of cancer, potentially replacing chemotherapy. “It’s an explosion,” he said.

In one of the trials, over half of the terminally ill patients saw their tumors shrink or disappear completely. The drug, which was developed by a team led by Schachter, was used in an international study led by Dr. James Larkin of UK’s Royal Marsden Hospital. The results of the study were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This an astounding discovery with enormous potential for cancer patients everywhere. Kol hakavod to the researchers and developers. May they continue on from strength to strength in their efforts to help the sick.

RayGo smartphone voice controller

Another item from the No Camels site is the news of a brilliant new Israeli device to prevent people from driving while texting on their phones. This news is of particular relevance to me and my immediate circle since, as I mentioned last week, we lost a good friend in a road accident possibly caused by texting.  The RayGo Voice Control enables you to drive and “text” while keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road:

We’ve all been guilty of it at some point: Texting while driving, or driving while “intexticated.”

Unfortunately, this type of momentary distraction is the cause of half of all car crashes, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Now, Israeli startup ProjectRay is developing a gadget that will help you avoid texting while driving, potentially saving the lives of thousands of people.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are close to 33,000 fatal car accidents in the US every year. Since the risk of getting into a car crash is 23 times higher when texting, ProjectRay – which previously focused on communication tools for the blind – has decided to put an end to the problem, by freeing your eyes to focus solely on the road ahead.

Founded in 2011, Project Ray recently completed a successful Indiegogo campaign for a new product called RayGo. It is a simple, five-button Bluetooth device that clips to the steering wheel (or handlebar for cyclists), which allows for voice control of your smartphone. RayGo lets you safely use your favorite apps like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Gmail and Skype while driving or biking. The gadget allows you to put your phone on “drive mode,” replacing touch-screen gestures with simple key presses on the controller, which is right there where your hands hold the steering wheel. One press of a button turns your favorite apps into voice-activated ones, through which messages are read to you aloud.

“Preventing deadly situations”

Five seconds is usually the amount of time one would take their eyes off the road to look at their cellphone. It may sound like nothing, but for a vehicle going 55 miles per hour, that’s enough time to travel the entire length of a football field while not looking at the road. RayGo is aimed at minimizing that. “If you’re driving, you can spot many people texting and being distracted by their phones. We’re preventing potentially deadly situations”, Project Ray CEO Boaz Zilberman tells NoCamels.

Zilberman admits that to stay safe, the ultimate solution would be to not use your phone while driving all, but that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Since it’s extremely difficult to deter people from doing that – hefty fines and police citations have not eliminated the problem – RayGo’s solution is “the next best thing,” Zilberman says.

Watch this video to see how this works:

Kol hakavod to Boaz Zilberman and his Project Ray company. We all wish we were all perfect drivers and that we weren’t so addicted to our smart phones, but at least we now have a device which will help protect all of us.

IsrAID sends team to flood-hit Texas

Moving to  a much more existential matter, Israel sends disaster relief aid teams not only to poor third world countries like Nepal or Haiti, but to developed countries too. Last week Israel sent an aid team to Texas where they have been inundated with floods:

The Israeli organization IsraAID will be sending a team to help relief efforts in Texas, where massive flooding has killed at least 21 people and spurred evacuations.

“IsraAID will be mobilizing its relief team from Israel to support the thousands of people impacted by these latest storms,” said Shachar Zahavi, IsraAID’s executive director.

A team of 10 IsraAID volunteers will depart on Sunday for Texas, where they will help with removing debris from damaged houses, Zahavi told The Jerusalem Post.

The organization will be partnering with US disaster relief organization Team Rubicom and will be helping people in the Austin area. The work will assist homeowners to turn to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to receive assistance, Zahavi said.

He added that the mission to Texas is not the first time that IsraAID has been involved in US disaster relief.

Zahavi listed floods in Denver and Detroit, wild fires in Washington, hurricanes in Oklahoma, Hurricane Sandy in New York, and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as other disasters when his organization lent assistance.

Once again kol hakavod to the Israeli aid organization IsrAID. We Israelis can be proud of record in disaster relief and I for one am thankful that we can be on the side of the giving, and not on the side needing help. I hope the people of Texas can return safely to their homes in a very short time.

And one more item via Twitter which just caught my eye and is so appropriate to close this post:

Indeed! Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom!

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1 Response to Good News Friday

  1. Reality says:

    What fantastic intventions.Well done Israid, we are proud of you! as Mr. ostrovsky said so clearly, boycott shmoycott!

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