Once again, thank goodness it’s Friday and time for a Good News Friday post to put us in a good mood for Shabbat.
Let’s start with yet another Israeli medical breakthrough. This time it’s a development that can prevent blindness in the elderly:
A groundbreaking experiment conducted at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem using embryonic stem cells has succeeded in preventing blindness in the elderly. The researchers used stem cells to transplant retinal pigment cells into older patients with vision impairment.
Retinal degeneration in older age is a particularly common disease in the Western world. 30 percent of adults older than 75 suffer from it, and 6 to 8 percent of them suffer from total vision loss.
Prof. Benjamin Reubinoff, director of the Hadassah Center for Embryonic Stem Cell Research and an expert in obstetrics and gynecology, founded a company called Cellcure, which focuses on developing embryonic stem cell transplantation in patients with incurable diseases in the nervous system and the eyes.
The researchers had to develop a culture from the embryonic stem cells that would contain only the pigment cells of the retina and prove that these cells were safe and effective in experiments in mice and rats. After obtaining the approval of the Ministry of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, it was decided to conduct a trial in human subjects.
Prof. Reubinoff and Prof. Eyal Banin, director of the Center for Retinal Degeneration Diseases at Hadassah’s Department of Ophthalmology, began performing transplantations in five patients. Using imaging, they found that the transplanted cells were successfully absorbed into the retina.
“This is a great achievement for us. The vision of the elderly has remained stable and has not deteriorated as it would have without the transplant,” explained Prof. Reubinoff. “If the treatment is proven to be effective, we will implant the cells at an early stage of the disease, thereby preventing millions of elderly people around the world from losing their sight.”
What a fantastic result! If further trials prove successful this could save the sight of millions of people. Kol hakavod to Profs. Reubinoff and Banin. May their research continue to bring about successful results.
Let’s move to a completely different subject, one of my “favourite”: the delegitimization of Israel. Here is one man who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to real Apartheid – the South African Debating Champion 2016 African Debate Champ Jamie Mighti – and he will hear none of it when it comes to Israel:
Kol hakavod to Mr. Mighti (and what a suitable name!). May he continue to be a goodwill ambassador for Israel.
Talking of pro-Israel activity, it was infuriating to read that Hebrew U were not going to play the Hatikva, the Israeli national anthem, at last night’s graduation ceremony for fear of offending its Arab students. How fitting therefore that we should hear the Hatikva being sung with great gusto by hundreds of schoolchildren from Karnei Shomron (my own granddaughter is in there somewhere ☺) when they were on a school trip to Nebi Samuel in Jerusalem:
Kol hakavod to all the children, their parents and their teachers who have imbued within the pupils the spirit and love of Israel.
This week we’re heading into Yom Yerushalayim, the anniversary of Israel’s miraculous win in the Six Day War. It is no ordinary anniversary this year, it is the 50th anniversary – the Golden Anniversary – of the reunification of Jerusalem and the liberation of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights. So stay tuned on my blog for a series of posts on Jerusalem and the Six Day War during the coming week.
Meanwhile, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!