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Diving Instructor Saved by Unique Procedure

A diving instructor was saved by a unique procedure in Jerusalem after being rushed to the hospital with severe abdominal pain.

While practicing diving in Greece, Barak Haruvi of Eilat suddenly felt severe pain. The 38-year-old diving instructor was told by doctors there to return urgently to Israel where he was diagnosed with a complicated and life-threatening malformation of a vein in the abdominal wall.

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Hadassah Medical Center Researchers Tout ‘Hopeful’ Treatment Results For Myeloma Cancer

Israeli researchers at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem have developed a new experimental treatment for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, with 92 percent of tested-on patients showing positive signs, and over half of them going into complete remission.

The treatment is based on cellular engineering used for treatments of other diseases, and was developed by Professor Cyrille Cohen, head of the Immunology Lab at Bar-Ilan University, in collaboration with Professor Polina Stepansky, director of the Bone Marrow Transplant and Immunotherapy department at Hadassah Medical Center. 

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Israeli CAR-T cancer treatment could be administered out-patient – first in the world

Israeli CAR-T cancer treatment could be administered out-patient – first in the world
The therapy was developed at Hadassah to treat Multiple Myeloma, AL Amyloidosis and other BCMA-positive malignancies.

Israeli cancer treatment is en route to becoming the world’s first and only out-patient CAR-T for multiple myeloma, AL amyloidosis and other BCMA-positive malignancies.

Prof. Polina Stepensky at the Jerusalem Post Women Leaders Summit in February 2023. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)[/caption]

Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy is a treatment in which a patient’s T-cells are altered in a lab to attack cancer cells. Myeloma, AL amyloidosis and BCMA-positive malignancies are all types of blood cancers. The first two are generally found in the bone marrow.

Prof. Polina Stepensky, Dr. Shlomit Kfir-Erenfeld and Dr. Nathalie Asherie of Hadassah’s Bone Marrow Transplantation Department, in collaboration with Prof. Cyrille J. Cohen of Bar-Ilan University, developed the CAR-T treatment for myeloma. At the end of last year, California-headquartered Immix Biopharma in-licensed the therapy, known as NXC-201, from Hadassah for $20 million in license fees and future milestone payments. It also agreed to sponsor ongoing clinical research and development at Hadassah for more than $12 million over the next four years.

NXC-201 has shown an 85% overall response rate and 71% complete response/stringent complete response at the therapeutic dose from the first 20 patients in an ongoing phase 1b relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma ongoing clinical trial.

The treatment, according to Stepensky, can prolong and significantly improve the life quality of people suffering from myeloma.

“The idea of CAR-T treatment was born in Israel in the 1980s but was implemented mainly in the United States,” Stepensky explained. “In the states, they developed a treatment for lymphoma. Here in Israel, we developed our treatment for myeloma. China is the only other country where this treatment is available at all.”

While Israel typically licenses such treatments from the United States, CAR-T is very expensive and not easily accessible. In the US, it can cost as much as $400,000 for a patient to receive this life-saving treatment. “This is why it was so important for us to develop something in Israel. Not only was it not always available, but it was costly,” she said.

Funded by Hadassah and the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Stepensky led the charge to change the situation for her patients. As such, all the research, clinical trials and production in a certified Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility are done at Hadassah. So far, nearly 70 patients have received the treatment.

“For our patients, it gives them another chance at life,” Stepensky said, adding that she has a lot of hope for the work that will be done in California.

“Now, they are going to start clinical trials in the US, and we hope the results will be the same as ours in Israel,” she explained. “Then, we can submit the treatment for final approval by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). After that, the European Medicines Agency usually follows.”

This article was written in cooperation with Hadassah and the Women’s Zionist Organization of America.

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Jerusalem’s Hadassah medical center named global leader in several fields

The rankings appeared in the World’s Best Hospitals 2023, the fifth annual assessment of 300 hospitals in 28 countries produced by Newsweek.

Newsweek has named Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center a world leader in oncology and for the fifth straight year one of the globe’s top hospitals in both cardiology and smart technology.

The rankings appeared in the World’s Best Hospitals 2023, the fifth annual assessment of 300 hospitals in 28 countries produced by Newsweek, in partnership with the global data firm Statista.

Hadassah was placed alongside world-renowned U.S. medical centers such as the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital and The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“Hadassah has gained a global reputation thanks to its groundbreaking research and advanced medical care,” said Hadassah director Dr. Yoram Weiss. “I am delighted to see that, for the fifth year in a row, we have been recognized for the uncompromising quality of our teams in the fields of oncology and cardiology and as a ‘smart’ 

hospital using the most advanced technologies.”

The Newsweek-Statista results are based on more than 20,000 recommendations from thousands of medical experts and verified by a global committee of medical specialists.


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